See for the online version with illustrations, music and links to the previous translation:



"The Story of the Fortunate One"



CANTO 10 - part II:

Summum Bonum




Chapter 24 Krishna Defies Indra in Favor of the Brahmins, the Cows and Govardhana Hill

Chapter 25 Lord Krishna Lifts Govardhana Hill

Chapter 26 Nanda Recapitulates the words of Garga before the Puzzled Gopas 

Chapter 27 Lord Indra and Mother Surabhi Offer Prayers

Chapter 28 Krishna Rescues Nanda Mahārāja from the Abode of Varuna

Chapter 29 The Rāsa Play: Krishna Meets and Escapes the Gopīs at Night

Chapter 30 The Gopīs Search for Krishna Who Disappeared with Rādhā

Chapter 31 The Songs of the Gopīs in Separation

Chapter 32 Krishna Returns to the Gopīs

Chapter 33 The Rāsa Dance

Chapter 34 Sudars'ana Delivered and S'ankhacūda Killed

Chapter 35 The Gopīs Sing about Krishna as He Wanders in the Forest

Chapter 36 The Bull Arishthāsura Defeated and Akrūra Sent by Kamsa

Chapter 37 Kes'ī and Vyoma Killed and Nārada Eulogizes Krishna's Future

Chapter 38 Akrūra's Musing and Reception in Gokula

Chapter 39 Krishna and Balarāma Leave for Mathurā

Chapter 40 Akrūra's Prayers

Chapter 41 The Lords' Arrival in Mathurā

Chapter 42 The Breaking of the Sacrificial Bow

Chapter 43 Krishna Kills the Elephant Kuvalayāpīda

Chapter 44 The Wrestling Match and the Killing of Kamsa

Chapter 45 Krishna Rescues His Teacher's Son




This book relates the story of the Lord and His incarnations since the earliest records of Vedic history, the history of the original culture of knowledge of India. It is verily the Krishna 'bible' [in Sanskrit called a samhitā] of the Hindu universe. The Bhagavad Gītā relates to this book the way in Christianity the sermon on the mountain, by Lord Jesus, relates to the full Bible. It has about 18.000 verses contained in 335 chapters and consists of 12 subdivisions of books that are called Cantos. These books together tell the complete history of the Vedic culture and cover the essence of the classical collections of stories called the Purānas. This specific collection of Vedic stories is considered the most important one of all the great eighteen classical Purānas of India. It includes the cream of the Vedic knowledge compiled from all the Vedic literatures, as also the story of the life of Lord Krishna in full (Canto 10). Lord Krishna constitutes a watershed in history between the old Vedic culture and the 'modern' political culture of a continuous word struggle, in which the rule of state no longer automatically is led by the spiritual order. The book tells the story of His birth, His youth, all wonderful proofs of His divine nature and His superhuman feats of defeating all kinds of demons, up to the great Mahābhārata war at Kurukshetra. In this war the Vedic culture fell down to be replaced by the fragmented religiosity we these days call Hinduism. This leading Purāna, also called the 'perfect Purāna', is a brilliant story that has been brought to the West by S'rīla A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda (1896-1977). He was a Caitanya Vaishnava, a bhakti (devotional) monk of Lord Vishnu [the name for the transcendental form of Lord Krishna]. We owe him much gratitude. He undertook the daring task of enlightening the materialist westerners, the advanced philosophers and theologians, in order to help them to overcome the perils and loneliness of impersonalism and the philosophy of emptiness.

The representative of Vishnu on earth is named the Fortunate One in this book. We know Him specifically by the names of Lord Rāma and Lord Krishna. The Fortunate One is the Lord who is known by His different forms or incarnations, the so-called avatāras. But also the devotees are part of His reality and are also called bhāgavata when they are of pure devotion. On top of that the book is also called bhāgavata. Thus there is the Lord in His many appearances, the devotee with as many faces, and the book. They are all called bhāgavata or fortunate. The word bhāga means fortune or luck, while the term bhaga refers to gracious lord, happiness and wealth. To be fortunate Vedically means to be of the opulence, or to carry, or live by, the fullness of God's riches, beauty, fame, power, knowledge and detachment.

The writer of this book is named Krishna Dvaipāyana Vyāsadeva, and is also known as Bādarāyana. He is the Lord, the Bhagavān or venerable one among the philosophers, who in India assembled all the holy texts. He compiled the Vedas, four basic scriptures also known as the s'ruti meaning ‘that what is heard’, containing the basic wisdom, the mantras for the rituals and the hymns. The Purānas together with the Itihāsas (the separate stories) belong to the so-called smriti, ‘that what is remembered’. This knowledge is sometimes considered a fifth Veda. Vyāsa also wrote the book titled Mahābhārata. It is considered the greatest epic poem in the world. It describes the history (Itihāsa) of the great fall the Vedic culture once made, this culture based on spiritual knowledge. The Bhagavad Gītā is the most important part of it. Vyāsa also wrote the rest of the eighteen great story books (the Purānas) of India as also the Brahma-sūtra, his masterpiece on the Absolute Truth. Vyāsa was a grandfather of the Kuru dynasty. He lived a very long time. His long duration of life enabled him to write the story of the Fortunate One and all the other books. He had a son called S'ukadeva who handed down the message of this holy story book, in the presence of other sages, to another member of the family, Emperor Parīkshit, who had difficulty respecting the classical wisdom. This emperor is in this book, presented in the form of a frame story, present as a model for us normal people who seek their stability in wisdom. This knowledge was by S'uka conveyed to him in disciplic succession (paramparā) for the sake of  the science of devotional service (bhakti), to be taught by those who teach by example (the ācāryas). Swami A. C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupāda, from this disciplic succession was commissioned to disseminate this book in the West. He realized this together with his pupils (known as the Hare Krishnas of ISKCON), with a verse by verse commented series of books covering the entire Bhāgavatam. This site offers not all these texts but it does offer, under the Creative Commons Copyright, an as-it-is translation, independent from ISKCON, of the verses in a concatenated accessible form, complete with the Sanskrit original version and a dictionary covering the terms used in the book, the previous version, a reading in mp3's and 74 bhajans for performing the necessary chanting alone and in association. This text is regularly updated and maintained by us. As a devotee I as the translator, the undersigned, received my instructions for devotional service in the temples of ISKCON, as also elsewhere. My predecessor in this duty in the Netherlands was S'rī Hayes'var das (Hendrik van Teylingen, 1938-1998), who was initiated by Prabhupāda. He covered most of the formal ISKCON translations into Dutch.
For the translation of this internet version were consulted the translations of C.L Goswami, M.A., Sāstrī (from the Gītā Press, Gorakhpur), the paramparā [disciplic succession] version of S'rīla Vishvanātha Cakravarti Thhākura and the later version of this book by S'rīla A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda. The latter translators as ācāryas of the age-old Indian Vaishnava tradition, are representatives of a culture of reformation of the devotion for God or bhakti, the way it has been practiced in India since the 16th. century. This reformation asserts that the false authority of the caste system and single dry book knowledge is to be rejected. S'rī Krishna Caitanya, also called Caitanya Mahāprabhu (1486-1534), the avatāra [an incarnation of the Lord] who heralded this reform, restored the original purpose of developing devotion unto the person of God. He endeavored in particular for the dissemination of the two main sacred scriptures expounding on that devotion in relation to Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. These scriptures are the Bhagavad Gītā and this Bhāgavata Purāna, which is also called the S'rīmad Bhāgavatam. From this scripture all the Vaishnava teachers of example derived, and still derive, their wisdom for the purpose of the instruction and shaping of their exemplary devotion. The word for word translations as also the full text and commentaries of this book were studied within and without the Hare Krishna temples where the teaching of this culture takes place. 

The purpose of the translation is first of all to make this glorious text available to a wider audience over the Internet. Since the Bible, the Koran and numerous other holy texts are readily available, the translator, the undersigned, meant that this book could not stay behind on the shelf of his own bookcase as a token of material possessiveness. When we started with this endeavor in the year 2000 there was no proper web presentation of this book. Knowledge not shared is knowledge lost, and certainly this type of knowledge, which stresses the yoga of non-possessiveness and devotion as one of its leading principles, could not be left out. The version of Swami Prabhupāda is very extensive covering some 2400 pages of plain fine printed text, including his commentaries. And these covered only the first ten Cantos. The remaining two Cantos were posthumously translated, commented and published by his pupils in full respect of his spirit.

I thus was faced with two daring challenges: one was to concatenate the text, or make a readable running narrative, of the book that had been dissected and commented to the single word. The second challenge was to put it into a language that would befit the 21st. century with all its modern and postmodern experience and digital progress of the present cultural order of the world, without losing anything of its original verses. Thus another verse to verse as-it-is translation came about in which Vishvanātha's, Prabhupāda's and Sāstrī's words were pruned, retranslated and set to the understanding and realization of today. This realization, in my case, originated directly from the disciplic line of succession of the Vaishnava line of ācāryas, as also from a realization of the total field of Indian philosophy of enlightenment and yoga discipline, as was brought to the West by also non-Vaishnava gurus and maintained by their pupils. Therefore the author has to express his gratitude also to all these great heroes who dared to face the adamantine of western philosophy with all its doubts, concreticism and skepticism. In particular the pupils of Prabhupāda, members of the renounced order (sannyāsīs) who instructed the author in the independence and maturity of the philosophy of the bhakti-yogis of Lord Caitanya, need to be mentioned. I was already initiated in India by a non-Vaishnava guru who gave me the name Swami Anand Aadhar ('teacher of the foundation of happiness'). That name the Krishna community converted into Anand Aadhar Prabhu ('master of the foundation of happiness'), without further ceremonies of Vaishnava initiation (apart from a basic training). With the name Anand Aadhar I am a withdrawn devotee, a so-called vānaprashta, who does his devotional service independently in the silence and modesty of his local adaptations of the philosophy.

In most cases the word for word translations and grammatical directions of S'rīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda/ISKCON, Vishvanātha Cakravarti Thhākura and C.L. Goswami M.A., Sāstrī, have been followed as they were used in their translations. I have checked them with the help of the Monier-Williams Sanskrit Dictionary [see the file of the terms used]. In footnotes and between square brackets [ ] sometimes a little comment and extra info is given to accommodate the reader when the original text is drawing from a more experienced approach. Terms in italics are explained in the glossary (the lexicon) ( On the internetsite of this book, my - from ISKCON independent - version directly links to the version of Prabhupāda at each verse, together with my own previous version, so that it is possible to retrace at any moment what we, Sakhya Devi Dāsī, who faithfully always assisted me for more than 23 years in the duty, and I, this servant of the Lord, have done with the text. It was realized in accordance with the scientific tradition of the Vaishnava community.

For the copyright on this translation and the podcast spoken version of the book, the so-called Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License has been chosen. This means that one is free to copy, distribute and alter the text on the condition of attribution (refer to the name of Anand Aadhar and to my website URL Furthermore the resulting work can only be distributed under the same or similar license to this one and one also may not use the text for commercial purposes. For all other usage one will have to contact the translator.

With love and devotion,
Anand Aadhar Prabhu,
Sakhya Devi Dāsī, 
Enschede, The Netherlands, January 24, 2024


Chapter 24: Krishna Defies Indra in Favor of the Brahmins, the Cows and Govardhana Hill

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'The Supreme Lord staying there [in Vraja] in the company of Baladeva, saw how the gopas were busily engaged in arranging a sacrifice for Lord Indra. (2) Even though the Supreme Lord, the Omniscient Soul of Everyone, knew everything about it [see B.G. 9: 23], He bowed down humbly and inquired of the elderly headed by Nanda [His stepfather]: (3) 'Tell Me, dear father, what is all this goings-on of you about? Where does it lead to, for whom is it done and what are the means by which this sacrifice is accomplished? (4) Please tell Me about it. I have this great desire to hear about it, oh father. Surely it cannot be so that the activities of saintly men, equal towards everyone in this world, being indifferent about mine and thine, and neutral towards friends and foes, are something to be secretive about, is it? (5) A stranger one may avoid like he is an enemy, but a friend one should treat like oneself, so they say. (6) When common people do something in the world, they sometimes engage with knowledge and sometimes they engage without. Engaging with expertise one achieves an optimal result and with ignorant actions that is not the case. (7) With that being said, I ask you whether this combined effort of yours is something that is prescribed [in the scriptures] or just a custom. That you should explain clearly to Me.'

(8) S'rī Nanda said: 'Indra is the great lord of the rain and the clouds are his personal representatives. They provide the rain for all living beings. Rain is the gratifying life force, just like milk. (9) Because of the liquid discharged by this lord and master of the clouds, my dear son, we - and also other people - worship him with fire sacrifices and various paraphernalia. (10) With the remnants of those sacrifices people sustain their lives in three different ways [religiously, economically and sensually]. He is the superhuman being who brings the fruits to those who from their human actions expect a certain yield [like farmers]. (11) Anyone who rejects this dharma [of sacrificing to Indra] that was handed down by tradition, is a person who, because of lust, enmity, fear and greed, cannot find happiness in life [see B.G. 10: 36].'

(12) S'rī S'uka said: 'After having heard Nanda's words and also what the other residents of Vraja had to say, Lord Kes'ava spoke to His father in a way that made Lord Indra angry. (13) The Supreme Lord said: 'It is because of karma that a living entity takes birth and it is by [the force of] his karma alone that he meets his demise. Happiness or unhappiness, security and fear are all the result of one's karma. (14) If there would be some controller who awards others the fruit of their actions, then that ruler still depends on those who engage in action. After all, he cannot be the master of someone who does nothing! (15) Living beings have to face the consequences of their actions, what have they to do with Indra who cannot change what is determined by their own nature? (16) A person is controlled by his nature - he follows his nature. This entire world with its gods, demons and common men, exists on the basis of everyone's personal nature. (17) Living beings as a consequence of their actions obtain and forsake higher and lower evolved bodies. Karma alone is their enemy, friend and impartial judge, their Lord and their teacher [see also B.G. 8: 15 & 16, 4.29: 26-27 and 7.7: 46-47]. (18) One should therefore, keeping to one's duties, exercise respect for the karma of one's own nature [see varnās'rama]. One lives rightly by that karma, it is no doubt someone's worshipable deity. (19) The way an unfaithful woman, resorting to another living being, does not gain any real benefit with her lover, it is also not to someone's advantage to prefer a thing [or deity] different from the one sustaining one's life. (20) The brāhmanas maintain their life [by teaching and explaining] the Vedas, the kshatriyas by protecting the land, the vaishyas by trading and the s'ūdras by serving the twice-born souls [the former three classes, see also 7.11: 21-24]. (21) The fourfold occupational duty of the vaishya consists of farming, trading, cow protection and banking as the fourth. Among these the constant care for the cows is the duty we are engaged in. (22) [The natural qualities of] goodness, passion and ignorance are the cause of the maintenance, creation and destruction [in the world. See guna]. From the quality of passion this universe is generated and from the mutual [sexual] action therein we find the [biological] diversity of this world. (23) The clouds, impelled by that passion, pour down their water everywhere, and by that water they factually maintain the population. So what would Indra then do? (24) The cities, the cultivated lands and the villages are not the places where we are at home. We are the forest people, dear father, we always live in the forests and the hills. (25) Let us therefore begin with a sacrifice for the cows, the brahmins and the hill [Govardhana], and use for this worship the paraphernalia of Indra's sacrifice [see also footnote 10.8*3]! (26) Let us cook all sorts of preparations and soups, beginning with sweet rice, porridge, buns and cakes, and let us use all kinds of dairy products. (27) Let there be properly prayed before the fires by brahmins versed in the Vedas whom you should feed with well prepared dishes and reward with cows and other gifts. (28) To act appropriately in respect of everyone, also should be thought of others: fallen souls like dogs and outcasts. After next having given grass to the cows the offerings should be presented to the mountain. (29) After having eaten our fill, we in our best clothes, being smeared with sandalwood pulp and nicely adorned, should circumambulate the cows, the brahmins, the fires and the hill [always kept to the right]. (30) This is my view, oh father, may it be done, if you please. This will not only be dear to the brahmins, the cows and the hill, but also to Me.'

(31) S'rī S'uka said: 'When Nanda and the elders heard these words being spoken by the Supreme Lord, by the Time in person, in order to break the pride of Indra, they accepted them as excellent. (32-33) And so they executed everything Madhusūdana had spoken about: they arranged for the auspicious recitations, they all together respectfully paid tribute to the hill and the brahmins with the paraphernalia mentioned, they offered grass to the cows, the bulls and the calves, and next they circumambulated the hill with the animals in front of them. (34) The cowherd women, nicely ornamented and riding wagons that were yoked with oxen, sang the glories of S'rī Krishna, while the twice-born souls chanted their benedictions. (35) To instill faith in the gopas, Krishna thereupon assumed another form. Saying 'I am the hill' He devoured the abundance of offerings with the immensity of His body [see vapu and footnote *]. (36) Together with the people of Vraja He, by means of Himself, offered His obeisances to Himself: 'Oh, just see, how this hill, by assuming its form, has bestowed His mercy upon us!'

*: S'rīla Prabhupāda writes to this (Krishnabook ch. 24): "The identity of Krishna and Govardhana Hill is still honored, and great devotees take rocks from Govardhana Hill and worship them exactly as they worship the Deity of Krishna in the temples. Devotees therefore collect small rocks or pebbles from Govardhana Hill and worship them at home, because this worship is as good as Deity worship."


Chapter 25: Lord Krishna Lifts Govardhana Hill*

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'Indra, who realized that the worship of his person had been rejected, oh King, thereupon got angry with the gopas headed by Nanda, who had accepted Krishna as their Lord. (2) In order to put an end to it all, clouds were sent forth by Indra that carried the name Sāmvartaka. Deeming himself the supreme controller he enraged spoke the words: (3) 'Just see how enormously bewildered about their wealth these forest dwelling cowherds are. Having taken shelter of a mortal being like Krishna, they have committed an offense against the gods! (4) They abandoned the spiritual knowledge and try to get across the ocean of material existence by performing ritual sacrifices that, profit-oriented, are inadequate to pass as boats [for that ocean]. (5) By taking shelter of Krishna, this prattling, arrogant child, ignorantly thinking Himself to be the wisest, the gopas have acted to my displeasure. (6) Bring [oh clouds] destruction to their animals and put an end to their arrogance, because they, proud and foolish because of Krishna and their wealth, are full of conceit. (7) Riding my elephant Airāvata, I shall also come to Vraja. Accompanied by the wind gods I, moving hither with great power, will wipe out Nanda's cowherd community [see e.g. also 6.11 & 12].'

(8) S'rī S'uka said: 'The clouds thus on the command of Indra being released from their positions, with all their power tormented Nanda's cowherd village with a massive downpour of rain. (9) Propelled by the wind gods they, illumined by lightening bolts and roaring with thunder, showered down hailstones. (10) With the rain incessantly pouring down from the clouds in curtains, the higher and lower parts of the earth submerged by the flood of water, could no longer be discerned. (11) The gopas and gopīs, plagued by the abundance of rain and excessive wind, shivering from the cold, together with their cattle went to Govinda for shelter. (12) Covering their heads and protecting their children with their bodies they, tormented by the rains, quivering approached the basis of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead: (13) Krishna, oh Krishna, oh Greatest Fortune. You are Your own master, oh Lord, please protect the cow community against the godhead [Indra] who is angry with us, oh Protector of the Devotees [see also 10.8: 16]!'

(14) The Supreme Lord Hari seeing them witless under the attack of the hail, the rain and the extreme winds, considered the anger of Indra responsible for this: (15) [He thought:] 'Because I rejected Indra's sacrifice he, bent on destruction, is flooding us now with these unusual out-of-season fierce rains and great winds full of hailstones. (16) To counteract that properly I will, by the power of My yoga, arrange for the defeat of the pride and ignorance of all those who, with their wealth, are as foolish to consider themselves falsely Lord and Master over the world. (17) Of the demigods who, as controlling lords being falsely identified, are certainly not moved by goodness, I eradicate the false pride in order to pacify them [see also B.G. 14: 14]. (18) The cowherd community that has taken shelter of Me as their master, is My family. Therefore I will protect them with My mystic power. That is the vow I have taken [see also B.G. 9: 22].'
(19) Having said this [to Himself this incarnation of] Vishnu took up with one hand [His left one] Govardhana hill and held it high as easily as a child holding a mushroom. (20) The Supreme Lord then said to the gopas: 'Oh mother, oh father, oh residents of Vraja, please come, together with your cows, to the free space below this hill. (21) Do not be afraid that, because of the wind and the rain, the mountain would fall from My hand. You have feared enough, and in order to deliver you therefrom, I have provided [this solution] for you.'

(22) With their minds thus being pacified by Krishna, they entered the space underneath the mountain where they found ample room for their cows, wagons and everyone belonging to them. (23) Putting aside pain, hunger, thirst and all considerations of personal comfort, He before the eyes of the residents of Vraja held up the mountain for seven days without moving from His place. (24) When Indra saw the result of Krishna's mystic power, he most amazed, bereft of his pride and broken in his determination, called back his clouds. (25) With the sky free from clouds and the sun visible again, now that the fierce wind and rain had ended, the Lifter of Govardhana Hill said to the cowherds: (26) 'Please leave this place, together with your property, women and children. Give up your fear, dear gopas, the wind and rain have ceased, and the water in the rivers is low again.'

(27) The gopas each took their personal cows and left, with their belongings loaded on the wagons and the women, children and old people slowly following. (28) And while all the living beings were looking on, the Supreme Almighty Lord easily put down the hill back where it stood before. (29) The residents of Vraja, overwhelmed by the pure love they felt for Him, came forward with embraces and so on, each expressing his personal relationship with Him. The gopīs joyfully with great affection showered their fine blessings and respected Him with presentations of yogurt, whole grains and water. (30) Yas'odā, Rohinī, Nanda and Balarāma, the Greatest of the Strongest, embraced Krishna and full of affection eagerly all offered Him their blessings. (31) In heaven all the demigods - the perfected souls, the saints, the heavenly singers and the venerable souls - sang the Lord's praises and showered satisfied a rain of flowers, oh earthly ruler. (32) They sounded conch shells and played kettledrums in their abode, while the leading Gandharvas headed by Tumburu sang, oh ruler of men. (33) Oh King, Krishna together with Balarāma, surrounded by the loving animal tenders, thereupon left for the place where they were grazing their animals. The gopīs also went away singing about the glories of His heroic deeds, happy as they were with Him who had touched their hearts.'


Chapter 26: Nanda Recapitulates the Words of Garga Before the Puzzled Gopas

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'The gopas, witnessing activities like this of Krishna [lifting the hill], had no idea how He could be that powerful, and most astonished approached Nanda saying to him: (2) 'How could the boy, considering His extraordinary actions, deserve a birth among simple countryfolk, that would be contemptible for Him? (3) How can a boy of seven years old, playfully with one hand hold up the best of all hills, [as easily] as a mighty elephant holds up a lotus flower? (4) As a new-born child with hardly His eyes open, He sucked [the poisoned milk] from the breast of the greatly powerful Pūtanā, in the process also sucking away her life air, just like the force of time sucks away the youth from a body [see 10.6]. (5) When He, a few months old, lying beneath a cart was crying, He with His legs [kicking] upwards turned over the cart that was struck by the tip of His foot [see 10.7]. (6) At the age of one, sitting outside He was transported into the sky by the demon Trināvarta. He seized him by his neck, made him suffer and killed him [see 10.7]. (7) One day His mother tied Him to a large mortar because He had stolen butter. He [crawling with the mortar] on His hands moved between the two arjuna trees and caused their crash [see 10.10]. (8) Together with Balarāma and the boys grazing the calves in the forest, He with His two arms tore apart the beak of the enemy Baka who wanted to kill Him [see 10.11]. (9) Vatsa, [another demon] desirous to kill Him, in the form of a calf hid among the other calves. Krishna killed him and sportively [throwing the corpse in a tree] made kapittha fruits fall down with him [see 10.11]. (10) Together with Balarāma killing the jackass demon [Dhenuka] and his jackass companions, He secured the safety of the Tālavana forest that was full of ripe fruits [see 10.15]. (11) After arranging that the terrible Pralamba would be killed by the most powerful Balarāma, He released Vraja's gopas and their animals from a forest fire [see 10.18 & 19]. (12) Subduing the most venomous chief of the snakes [Kāliya] by climbing on top of him, He managed to defeat his pride and with force send him away from the lake of the Yamunā, the water of which thus was freed from its poison [10. 16 & 17]. (13) Dear Nanda, how can it be that all of us inhabitants of Vraja cannot give up our feelings of love for your son, who on His part is just as natural towards us? (14) The fact that He as a boy of seven years old has lifted the big hill, has with us, oh master of Vraja, raised questions about your son.'

(15) Nanda said: 'Please listen to my words, dear gopas. Let go of your doubt concerning the boy. This is what Garga in the past has told me referring to this child [see also 10.8: 13-19 for the same verses]: (16) 'And this one [the son of Yas'odā] has according to the yuga accepted forms with a white, a red or a yellow color. Now He is Krishna [of a dark complexion, see **]. (17)  This child previously was born somewhere else as the son of Vasudeva, and therefore the souls who know this will speak about this child of yours as the glorious Vāsudeva. (18) There are many names and forms according to the qualities and activities of His appearances. These are known to me, but the common people do not know them. (19) Being a Nanda-Gokula cowherd this child will always act to what is most beneficial to all of you. With His support you will easily overcome all dangers [*3] (20) Oh King of Vraja, in the past, when there was a faulty regime, He has protected pious souls who were disturbed by rogues so that they, with those bad elements defeated, could flourish [see also 1.3: 28]. (21) Just like those faithful to Vishnu have nothing to fear from the Asuras, those who are as fortunate to associate with this child in love and affection, will not be overcome by enemies. (22) Therefore, oh Nanda, take the greatest care raising this child. As for His qualities, opulences, name and fame this son of yours is as good as Nārāyana!' (23) After Garga had pointed this out to me, he went home. [Ever since] I consider Krishna, who frees us from all obstacles, an expansion of Nārāyana.'

(24) Having heard Nanda's words about what Garga had said, the residents of Vraja, enlivened by him and with their perplexity gone, worshiped Lord Krishna. (25) The demigod [Indra] who caused the rain, made in his anger about the loss of his sacrifice, the cowherds, animals and women suffer by engaging lightning bolts, hail and winds. Krishna, considering Himself their only shelter, smiled out of compassion, and in order to protect the cowherd community picked up the hill with one hand the way a small child picks up a mushroom. May He, the Lord of the Cows, the destroyer of the conceit of the great king of the sky, be satisfied with us!'

*: These colors will later be explained in the eleventh canto of the Bhāgavatam, in verses 11.5: 21, 24, 27 and 34.


Chapter 27: Lord Indra and Mother Surabhi Offer Prayers

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'After He held up the hill Govardhana to protect Vraja against the rains, from the world of the cows mother Surabhi [the celestial cow] came to Krishna. And so did Lord Indra. (2) Indra, ashamed of having been offensive, approached Him in a secluded place [*] and touched His feet with his helmet that shone like the sun. (3) Having heard about and having witnessed the power of Lord Krishna, whose immeasurable potency had put an end to his arrogance of being the lord of the three worlds, he with folded hands spoke as follows.

(4) Indra said: 'Your majesty, oh You abode of pure goodness, being of peace and the illumination of penance, You destroyed the passion and ignorance that are based on illusion. This continuous stream of the material qualities, to which one is bound in one's attachment, is not present in You. (5) How, oh Lord, can there in You [as I supposed, see 10.25: 3] exist the causes of being entangled - like greed and such - that symptomize an ignorant person? Are You not the Supreme Lord who, in defense of the dharma, exercises Your authority to chastise the wicked ones? (6) You are the father and the guru of the entire universe, the Original Lord and the insurmountable Time who, when You by Your own decision assume Your transcendental forms, strives to be the authority to eradicate the self-conceit of those who think they are the Lord of the Universe. (7) Ignorant souls like me, who think they are the master of the universe, quickly abandon their arrogance the moment they see You fearless [in confrontation]. This happens when they, no longer conceited because of the lesson You teach the wicked, wish to take the path of civilization only. (8) Unaware of Your influence I, because of my rulership, bathed in arrogance. Being offensive my intelligence got bewildered. Therefore please forgive me, oh Master who has assumed this form. Please let my consciousness never again be that foul, my Lord. (9) Your descent into this world, oh Lord of the Beyond, happened for the sake of the existence of those who serve Your lotus feet, oh Godhead, and for the non-existence of warlords, who constitute a great burden with the many disturbances they create. (10) I offer You my obeisances, the Supreme Lord and Original Personality, the great Soul S'rī Krishna, the son of Vasudeva. My respects for the Master of the Servants of the Absolute Truth. (11) My obeisances for Him who assumes physical forms in response to the desires of His devotees, for Him whose form is pure spiritual knowledge, who is the seed of all and everything, and who is the indwelling Soul of all living beings. (12) Oh Lord, when the sacrifice was frustrated I, fiercely arrogant and angry, wanted to destroy the cowherd community by means of rain and wind, oh Supreme Lord. (13) You, oh Controller, showing Your mercy have shattered my rigidity and rendered my attempts fruitless. I came to You, the True Self and spiritual master, to seek Your shelter.'

(14) S'rī S'uka said: 'With Krishna this way been glorified by the munificent Indra, the Supreme Lord smiled and spoke, as grave as the clouds, the following words to him. (15) The Supreme Lord said: 'I have engaged in the arrest of your sacrifice to show you My mercy and to ensure that you, as the king of heaven who was so greatly intoxicated by the opulence, would remember Me forever. (16) He who, blinded by the intoxication of power and opulence, does not see Me standing with the rod in My hand, I will, wishing to promote him, prepare a fall from his affluent position [see also B.G. 9: 22]. (17) Oh Indra, you may go now, I wish you all good fortune. Executing My order you may, free from false pride, remain engaged in your responsibilities.'

(18) Then mother Surabhi spoke to Krishna. Peaceful of mind offering her respects she, together with her cows, asked for the attention of the Supreme Lord who had appeared as a cowherd boy. (19) Mother Surabhi said: 'Krishna, oh Krishna, oh Greatest Mystic! Oh Soul and Origin of the Universe, with You as the director of the world, we have found our master, oh Infallible One. (20) You are our Supreme Godhead. Oh Lord of the Universe, please, for the welfare of the cows, the brahmins and those who are godly and saintly, be there as our Indra. (21) For You to be our Indra, we shall perform a bathing ceremony to the directions of Lord Brahmā, oh Soul of the Universe who descended to relieve the burden of the earth.'

(22-23) S'rī S'uka said: 'After this request Lord Krishna was by Surabhi bathed with her own milk. On the order of the mothers of the demigods [the daughters of Aditi] He thereupon by Indra was bathed with the heavenly Ganges water carried in Airāvata's trunk. He, the descendent of Das'arha, thus, in the company of the enlightened souls and the seers, received the name Govinda ['he who finds the cows']. (24) Tumburu, Nārada and the others, the singers of heaven, the scholars, the perfected and the venerable souls, came to that place and sang the glories of the Lord that eradicate the impurity of the world. The wives of the demigods danced together filled with joy. (25) He, as the emblem of all the gods, was praised and covered with wonderful showers of flowers. Everyone in the three worlds experienced a supreme satisfaction and the cows saturated the earth with their milk. (26) The rivers flooded with all kinds of liquids, the trees provided honey, the plants developed fully without being cultivated and the mountains produced jewels. (27) Oh [Parīkchit,] beloved one of the Kuru dynasty, after Lord Krishna had been bathed, all living beings, even the ones that are dangerous [predators, false people], were freed from their enmity. (28) After Govinda, the master of the cows and the cowherd community, thus had been bathed by him, Indra took leave and returned to heaven, surrounded by the gods and the others.'

*: The specific "solitary place" where Indra approached S'rī Krishna, is mentioned by the sage S'rī Vais'ampāyana in the Hari-vams'a (Vishnu-parva 19.3): sa dadars'opavishtham vai govardhana-s'ilā-tale. "He saw Him [Krishna] sitting at the base of Govardhana Hill".

Chapter 28: Krishna Rescues Nanda Mahārāja from the Abode of Varuna

(1) The son of Vyāsa said: 'After having fasted the eleventh day [of a lunar fortnight, ekādas'ī] and having worshiped the Maintainer of All [Janārdana], Nanda entered the water of the Yamunā for a bath on the twelfth day. (2) An obscure servant of Varuna seized him and led him to his master, for he had neglected that it was an unfavorable time to enter the water at night. (3) Oh King, the gopas not seeing him, cried loudly: 'Oh Krishna, oh Rāma!', upon which the Supreme Lord, who makes His people fearless, found out that His [step]father had been arrested by Varuna. He went to Varuna's place. (4) As soon as he saw that the Lord of the Senses had arrived, the presiding godhead of that region [of the waters] elaborately honored Him, being greatly pleased to have Him present.

(5) S'rī Varuna said: 'Today I may experience the true wealth of the success of my physical existence, oh Lord, for it is so that those who earned the privilege to serve Your lotus feet, have achieved the transcendence of their material life. (6) I offer You my obeisances, oh Supreme Personality of Godhead, You who are the Absolute Truth and the Supreme Soul free from the influence of the deluding material energy of māyā that makes up the material universe. (7) That ignorant servant of mine was a fool who did not know his duty [*] when he brought this man to me who is Your father. I beg Your pardon, Your goodness. (8) Towards me, oh Krishna, Govinda, oh You who sees everything, please be of mercy. Take this person who is Your father with You, oh You who care so much about Your parents.

(9) S'rī S'uka said: 'Krishna, the Supreme Lord and Controller of all Controllers, thus being satisfied, took His father with Him and went back to His relatives whom He brought great joy with it. (10)  Nanda, who never before had met with the great opulence of the lord of the realm [of the waters], nor had witnessed the obeisances they [Varuna and his followers] offered Krishna, most amazed spoke to his friends and relatives. (11) Oh King, the gopas, excited to hear about Him, their Lord, thought: 'Maybe the Supreme Master is going to grant us His transcendental abode!'

(12) He, the Supreme Lord who sees and understands everything of His devotees, full of compassion thought about the fulfillment of their desire: (13) 'The people in this world, ignorantly engaged in their wanton activities, wander between higher and lower purposes, without being aware of their actual destination.'

(14-15) With this consideration the Supreme Lord Hari in His great compassion showed the gopas His abode beyond the darkness of matter: the true, unlimited, spiritual knowing which is the light of the eternal absolute, the way it is seen by the sages when they in trance are removed from the material qualities. (16) They were by Krishna brought to the lake of the One Spirit [brahma-hrada] and submerged in it. Lifted out again they saw the abode of the Absolute Truth, the way Akrūra has seen it [3.1: 32, 10.38 & 10.40]. (17) With that vision Nanda and the others were overwhelmed by supreme bliss, and they were most surprised to see Krishna Himself present there, extensively being praised with Vedic hymns.'

*: Prabhupāda's pupils comment to the precise execution of ekādas'ī fasting matters and auspicious times of bathing: 'Of course, Varuna's servant should have been aware of these technical details, which are meant for strict followers of the Vedic rituals.'


Chapter 29: The Rāsa Play: Krishna Meets and Escapes the Gopīs at Night

(1) The son of Vyāsa said: 'Even though Krishna was the Supreme Lord, He, resorting   to His inner potency [see yoga-māyā], decided to enjoy those nights in autumn when He saw the jasmine flowers blossoming. (2) The king of the stars [the moon] at the time painted with his action the face of the east red, thus giving comfort to all who longed for him, just like a lover approaching his beloved ends her grief when he after a long time shows up again. (3) Krishna saw how the kumuda lotuses opened to the full disc of the moon, that glowed as red as the fresh kunkuma on the face of the goddess of fortune. He saw how the forest was reddened by the gentle rays of that light, and sweetly played His flute that enchanted the minds of the [gopīs with their] beautiful eyes. (4) That song being heard by the women of Vraja awakened Cupid in their hearts, so that each of them, unknown to the others, with her mind seized by Krishna and with earrings swinging in the haste, went to the place where He, her boyfriend, was situated. (5) Some left behind the cows while they were milking them, some abandoned in their eagerness the milk they had on the stove, while others went away without taking the cake out of the oven. (6-7) Some put aside the children they were feeding milk, and dressed up without thinking of the service they would render to their husbands. Some left during their meals, some while they were oiling themselves, were smearing their bodies or were making up their eyes. Others went to Krishna with their clothes and ornaments in disarray. (8) They were checked by their husbands, fathers, brothers and other relatives but, enchanted by Govinda they, with their hearts stolen, did not turn around [to their duties]. (9) Some gopīs who could not get away, stayed at home and closed their eyes to meditate on being [transcendentally] connected in love with Him [see footnote* and 10.1: 62-63]. (10-11) The intolerable, intense agony of being separated from their Beloved One, drove away all bad-mindedness. At the same time their material virtue was also reduced to zero because of the joy they obtained from meditating on Acyuta's embrace. Despite the fact that He was the Supreme Soul, they thought of Him as their paramour. Getting His direct association though their karmic bonds were counteracted so that they immediately gave up their physical interest ruled by the natural modes.'

(12) S'rī Parīkchit said: 'They only knew Krishna as their beloved one, and not as the Absolute Truth, oh sage. How could there, for them being so mindful of the material affair, be an end to the mighty current of the gunas?'

(13) S'rī S'uka said: 'I spoke to you about this before [in 3.2: 19 and in 7.1: 16-33]. When the king of Cedi [S'is'upāla] could attain perfection even by hating the Lord of the Senses, what then would that mean for those dear to the Lord in the Beyond? (14) The personal appearance of the Supreme, Imperishable and Inscrutable Lord who, free from the modes, is the controller of the modes, is there to lead humanity to the perfection of life, oh King. (15) They who towards Him are constantly of lust, anger, fear, affection, unity or friendship will surely achieve absorption in Him. (16) You should not be surprised about this [fact] concerning the Unborn Supreme Personality, the master of all masters of yoga, Krishna, by whose grace this world finds liberation. (17) When the Supreme Lord saw the girls of Vraja coming to Him, He, the best of all speakers, used charming words that confused them. (18) The Supreme Lord said: 'All of you, be welcome, oh fortunate ladies. What can I do to please you? Please tell Me whether Vraja is all right and for what reason you came here. (19) This night is full of ugly fearsome creatures, so please return to Vraja, oh slender girls. You women should not hang around here. (20) Your mothers, fathers, sons, brothers and husbands undoubtedly are looking for you and cannot find you. Do not make your families afraid. (21-22) You have seen Rākā [the goddess of the full moon day] resplendent with her moonlight. You have seen the forest full of flowers, which is even more pleasurable by the breeze, coming from the Yamunā, that plays through the leaves of the trees. Go therefore, without delay, back to the cowherd village. You must serve your husbands, oh chaste ladies, the calves and the children are crying for you to give them milk. (23) Or else, if you have come with your hearts overtaken by your love for Me, that is indeed praiseworthy of you, for all living beings have affection for Me. (24) For women it indeed is the highest dharma to be diligently of service to her husband, to be simple and honest towards the relatives, and to take good care of her family. (25) Unless he fell down [from his belief or being unfaithful] a husband, even being bad-tempered, unfortunate, old, decrepit, sickly and poor, must not be rejected by women who want to go to heaven [see also 9.14: 37 and B.G. 1: 40]. (26) For a well-educated woman to go astray dishonorably in adultery, is in all cases a contemptible weakness that creates fear and harms the reputation. (27) By listening, being in My presence [with the deity and the devotees], by meditation and by narrating [proclaiming and publishing], one is of love for Me, not so much with physical proximity. Therefore, please return to your homes [see also 10.23: 33].'

(28) S'rī S'uka said: 'The gopīs thus hearing the not so pleasant words of Govinda, being dejected because they were disappointed in their strong desires, felt an anxiety that was hard to overcome. (29) Saddened letting their faces hang down and their bimba-red lips dry up, they sighed while scratching the ground with their feet. With their tears spoiling their make-up and washing away the kunkum on their breasts, they silently carried the burden of their great distress. (30) Their Beloved One, not so loving at all, had addressed them contrarily, while they for His sake had desisted from all their material desires. They wiped their tears and stopped their crying and then, with their voices choked up in the attachment, in agony said something back. (31) The beautiful gopīs said: 'You, oh Mighty One, oh Goodness, should not speak so harshly. Please reciprocate with our devotion at Your feet for which we have denounced everything else. Do not play so hard-to-get rejecting us. Be just like the Godhead, the Original Personality who reciprocates with those who desire liberation. (32) Oh dearest one, You as the Knower of the Dharma spoke to us about the duty of women, that would consist of faithfulness to her husband, children and relatives. So be it, but is it not so that You, oh Lord, the Godhead, the most appreciated one, who as the Soul for all embodied beings is the closest relative, are the real object of this instruction? (33) The experts are constantly of service to You, who always endear them as their very own Self. So, what do our husbands, children and relatives mean to us who give us trouble? Have mercy with us, oh Supreme Controller, do not take away the by us for so long entertained hopes for You, oh Lotus-eyed One! (34) You easily stole our minds that were absorbed in our households, as also our hands that were engaged in household duties. Our feet will not move one step away from Your feet. How can we go back to Vraja, what should we do instead? (35) Please, oh Dearest One, pour the flood of the nectar of Your smiling glances and melodious songs, which [by the flute] escape from Your lips, over the fire in our hearts. Otherwise we will place our bodies in the fire that burns of separation, and by meditation on Your feet attain Your abode, oh Friend. (36) Oh You with Your lotus eyes, for the goddess of fortune it is a festival whenever she resides at the base of Your feet, the feet that now are held dear by [us] the people dwelling in the forest. Touching them we, being filled by Your joy, from that moment on will never be able to stand in the direct presence of any other man! (37) The goddess of fortune, who together with Tulasī-devī has achieved a position on Your chest, is served by servants, and the other gods try to acquire her look of approval. But the same way as even she desires the dust of Your lotus feet, we also have sought the shelter of the dust of Your feet. (38) Therefore be of mercy with us, oh Vanquisher of all Distress. Renouncing our homes we have approached Your feet in the hope to worship You. Please allow us to serve You, oh gem of all people, oh You with Your beautiful smiles and glances for which our hearts have burned with an intense desire. (39) Seeing Your face encircled by Your hair, the beauty of Your earrings at Your cheeks, the nectar of Your smiling lips, the glances that make one fearless, Your two mighty arms, and with seeing Your chest, the only source of pleasure for the goddess, we are delivered as Your servants. (40) Which woman within the three worlds, oh dearest, would, completely being bewildered by the drawn-out melody lines of the song of Your flute, not deviate in her civil conduct, after seeing this grace of the three worlds, this beautiful form because of which [even] the cows, the birds, the trees and the deer manifested a shiver of joy? (41) You clearly have taken birth as the Godhead, the remover of the fear and distress of the people of Vraja, as no one else but the Original Personality who protects all the gods and worlds. Therefore, oh Friend of the Distressed, kindly place Your lotus like hand on the burning breasts and heads of Your maidservants.'

(42) S'rī S'uka said: 'Having heard the gopīs' despondent words, the Lord of all the Lords of Yoga full of mercy smiled, He who had been satisfied despite His ever being satisfied within. (43) Being together with all of them He - like the spotted deer - was as splendid as the blemished moon surrounded by the stars. As the Infallible Lord who is so magnanimous in His glances and proofs of affection, He made their faces blossom with His broad smiles that beamed His jasmine-like teeth. (44) Being sung and singing Himself as the commander of hundreds of women moving among them, He wore the five-colored [Vaijayantī] garland with which He increased the beauty of the forest. (45-46) Together with the gopīs He arrived at the riverbank that, served by the waves, was cool with its [wet] sand and was pleasant with the fragrance of the lotuses that was carried by the wind. Together with the Vraja beauties awakening Cupid, He took pleasure in throwing His arms around them in embraces. That way touching their hair, belts, thighs and breasts with His hands, He, challenging striking them with His fingernails, glanced at them and played and laughed with them. (47) This way receiving from Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the special attention of the Greater Soul, they, getting proud, considered themselves the best of all women on earth. (48) Observing that they, due to their fortune, were caught in an intoxicated state of self-conceit, Lord Kes'ava, as a form of grace, disappeared from the spot in order to abate it.'

*: The different types of gopīs suggested here are also mentioned in the Padma Purāna:

gopyas tu s'rutayo jńeyā
rishi-jā gopa-kanyakāh
deva-kanyās' ca rājendra
na mānushyāh kathańcana

'It is understood that some of the gopīs are personified Vedic literatures (s'ruti-cārī), while others are reborn sages (rishi-cārī), daughters of cowherds (gopa-kanyās), or demigod maidens (deva-kanyās). But by no means, my dear King, are any of them ordinary humans.' There is also mention of sādhana-siddhas and nitya-siddhas: those perfect of spiritual discipline and those born that way.



Chapter 30: The Gopīs Search for Krishna Who Disappeared with Rādhā

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'After the Supreme Lord that sudden had disappeared, the young ladies of Vraja were as sorry not to see Him any longer as she-elephants who miss their bull. (2) The women who in their hearts were overwhelmed by the movements, affectionate smiles, playful glances, charming talks and other graceful gestures of the husband of Ramā, being absorbed in Him thereupon enacted each of those wonderful activities. (3) The dear ones lost themselves in imitating the movements, smiles, beholding, talking and so on, of their Beloved One, who factually thus was expressing Himself through their bodies. Under the influence of Krishna's ways they confided to each other: 'He is completely in me!' (4) Together they sang loudly about Him and searched like mad everywhere in the forest, asking the trees for the Original Personality who, like the ether, is both present inside and outside: (5) 'Oh as'vattha [holy fig tree], oh plaksha [waved-leaf fig tree], oh nyagrodha [banyan], have you seen the son of Nanda who has disappeared after He with His loving smiles and glances stole our hearts? (6) Oh kurabaka [red amaranth], as'oka, nāga, punnāga and campaka, have you seen passing the younger brother of Balarāma who with His smile vanquishes the pride of every girl who is too haughty? (7) Oh sweet tulasī, have you, who loves Govinda's feet so very much, seen our dearest Acyuta who carries you with swarms of bees around His neck? (8) Oh mālati, jāti, yūthikā and mallikā jasmine, have you seen Mādhava pass by who with His touch gives you pleasure? (9) Oh cūta [mango creeper], priyāla, panasa and āsana [jackfruit trees]; oh kovidāra [mountain ebony], jambu [rose-apple], arka, bilva [bell fruit], bakula [mimosa] and āmra [mango tree]; oh kadamba and nīpa, and who else of you who for the sake of others live here near the bank of the Yamunā, please be so kind to tell us whose minds were stolen, the path that Krishna took. (10) Oh [mother] earth, what austerity did you perform to have been touched by Kes'ava's feet with a joy that made your bodily hair [her grasses and such] stand on end? Or do you maybe owe your beauty to being trodden by the feet of Vāmanadeva [see 8.18-22] or maybe because you were embraced by the body of Varāha [3.13]? (11) Oh wife of the deer, oh friend, did you encounter Acyuta and His beloved one here, He who with all His limbs is a festival to your eyes? There is the fragrance in the air of the garland of the Master of the Gopīs that, in touch with the breasts of His girlfriend, was colored by the kunkum. (12) Oh trees, when Rāma's younger brother passed by, with His arm placed on the shoulder of His sweetheart, with in His hand a lotus and with the tulasī flowers [around His neck] followed by a swarm of bees blind of intoxication, did He, with His loving glances, acknowledge that you were bowing down? (13) Let us ask these creepers. Despite embracing the arms of their master tree, they must have noticed the touch of His fingernails. Just see how their skins erupt with joy!'

(14) The gopīs thus speaking madly, being distraught in their search for Krishna, got fully immersed in Him when each of them began to act out a certain pastime of the Fortunate One. (15) One of them drank as Krishna from another one acting as Pūtanā, like an infant from her breast, while yet another one, acting for the cart, was kicked over by the foot of another gopī who was crying [see chapters 10.6 and 7]. (16) One gopī acting as Krishna was carried away by another gopī imitating a Daitya [Trināvarta, see 10.7], while yet another one, crawling about, was tinkling with her ankle bells while dragging her feet behind her. (17) Two behaved like Krishna and Rāma, with some others who acted like the gopas, and killed one who played for Vatsāsura, while yet another couple enacted what happened with Bakāsura [see 10.11]. (18) Just like Krishna calling for the cows far away, one gopī, who played for Him and acted like she was vibrating a flute, was praised by the others who said: 'Well done!' (19) One of them walked about with her arm placed over a [friend's] shoulder and declared: 'Look at my gracious movements, I am Krishna!' and was thus keeping her mind fixed on Him. (20) 'Do not be afraid of the wind and rain, I will take care of your deliverance', one of them said, while she with one hand managed to lift up her shawl [like it was Govardhana Hill, see 10.25]. (21) Oh master of men, one gopī climbing on top of another one declared with her foot on her head: 'Oh you vicious snake, go away, I have taken birth as the one to chastise the wicked [see 10.16]!' (22) One of them said: 'Oh gopas, look at this fierce forest fire, quickly close your eyes, I shall without any problem arrange for your protection.' (23) One slender gopī was tied up with a flower garland by another gopī who said: 'There You are, I bind You to the mortar, You pot breaker and butterthief!' and with that being said the other one covered her face and beautiful eyes, pretending to be afraid.

(24) Engaged this way and asking the trees and creepers everywhere in Vrindāvana where He was, they at one spot in the forest saw the footprints of the Supreme Soul: (25) 'These are clearly the footprints of the son of Nanda. You can tell by [the marks of] the flag, the lotus, the thunderbolt, the barleycorn and the elephant goad [see *]'. (26) The girls who, led by the various footprints, followed His trail, noticed to their dismay that they all the way were accompanied by the footprints of one of them. They thereupon said: (27) 'Whose footprints are these next to the ones of the son of Nanda? Over whose shoulder has He, as a bull with a she-elephant, placed His arm? (28) He must have been perfectly honored by her [ārādhitah, see Rādhā] as being the Supreme, One Lord and Controller, for Govinda, thus being pleased, has turned us down and taken her separate. (29) Oh girls, how sacred are the particles of dust of Govinda's lotus feet that by Lord Brahmā, Lord S'iva and S'rī Ramādevī [Lakshmī] are taken on their heads to drive away the sins? (30) For us these footprints of her are most unsettling, because, whom of us gopīs was taken aside to enjoy Acyuta's lips in seclusion? Look, here we do not see her feet anymore. The blades of grass and sprouts must have hurt the soles of her tender feet so that her love has lifted up His sweetheart. (31) Carrying His sweetheart the footprints pressed much deeper... Just see, oh gopīs, how, burdened by the weight, our so intelligent object of desire Krishna has placed His girlfriend down to pick some flowers. (32) And see these half footprints over here. To gather flowers for His sweetheart the One Beloved made this imprint by standing on His toes. (33) Furthermore, in order to arrange the design of her hair, the love-stricken friend with His loving girl sat down precisely here, in order to make for His sweetheart a crown from the flowers.'

(34) [S'rī S'uka said:] 'Even though Krishna was perfectly contented, satisfied and undivided within Himself, He enjoyed with her and thus demonstrated the covetousness and selfhood of men and women who are motivated by lust. (35-36) Krishna this way showed for which gopī He had abandoned the other women, the other gopīs who completely bewildered wandered around in the forest. She in her turn then thought of herself: 'He has accepted me, the best of all women, as His beloved and has turned down the gopīs who were led by lust!'

(37) Thereupon going to that spot in the forest, she got proud and said to Krishna: 'I cannot move on, please carry me wherever You want to go.'

(38) Thus being addressed Krishna said to His sweetheart: 'Climb on My back.' and then He disappeared. She felt very sorry.

(39) 'Oh Master, oh Lover, oh Dearest, where are You, where are You? Oh mighty armed One, please my friend, show Yourself to me, Your wretched maidservant!'

(40) S'rī S'uka said: 'The gopīs, not far away following the trail of the Supreme Lord, discovered their unhappy friend in a state of bewilderment about being separated from her Beloved. (41) To their utter amazement they heard her saying that she had received Mādhava's respect but that He also had let her down because of her bad behavior. (42) As far as the light of the moon permitted, they thereupon entered the forest [to look for Him], but noticing it got [too] dark,  the women desisted. (43) Absorbed in Him, discussing Him, imitating Him and filled with His presence they, simply singing about His qualities, no longer thought about their homes [see also 7.5: 23-24]. (44) Turning back to the bank of the Yamunā they meditated on Krishna, sang together and eagerly awaited His arrival.'

*: In the Skanda Purāna is found an explanation of these [in total nineteen] marks: 'At the base of the large toe on His right foot, the unborn Lord carries the mark of a disc, which cuts down the six [mental] enemies of His devotees. At the bottom of the middle toe of that same foot Lord Acyuta has a lotus flower, which increases the greed for Him in the minds of the beelike devotees who meditate on His feet. At the base of His small toe is a thunderbolt, which smashes the mountains of His devotees' reactions to past sins, and in the middle of His heel is the mark of an elephant goad, which brings the elephants of His devotees' minds under control. The joint of His right large toe bears the mark of a barleycorn, representing all kinds of enjoyable opulences. The thunderbolt is found on the right side of His right foot, and the elephant goad below that.' See the Vedabase file of 10.30: 25 for further info.


Chapter 31: The Songs of the Gopīs in Separation

(1) The gopīs said: 'Because of Your birth the land of Vraja is more and more glorious and the goddess of fortune resides there perpetually. Show Yourself, oh dear beloved, You for whom the devotees, who search for You everywhere, sustain their life breath. (2) Not being here, oh Finest of Grace, You, with the beauty of Your glance which excels the exquisite beauty of the heart of the lotus that so perfectly grew in the pond of autumn, put an end to the life of us, the maidservants who gave themselves to You without expecting anything in return, oh Lord of Love. Is that not murder? (3) Time and again, oh Greatest Personality, we have been protected by You against all that is fearsome: perishing by the water [of Kāliya, 10.16], by the demon [Agha, 10.12], by the rains, the storm and thunderbolts [of Indra, 10.25], and by the bull and the son of Maya [the incidents with Arishthāsura and Vyomāsura which S'uka discusses later]. (4) Oh Friend, You who appeared in the dynasty of the devotees [the Sātvatas] are actually not the son of the gopī [Yas'odā]. You, oh Lordship, are the seer, the inner consciousness of all embodied beings, oh You who appeared on the request of Brahmā who was praying for the protection of the universe [see also 3.8: 16 and 10.14]. (5) You who took the hand of the goddess, oh best of the Vrishnis, made those fearless who, in the fear about their material existence, approached Your feet. Please, oh Lover, place as an answer to our desires Your lotus like hand on our heads. (6) Oh You who put an end to the suffering of the inhabitants of Vraja, oh Hero of the women who with His smile defeats the false smiles of the people, please oh Friend, accept us, Your eternal maidservants. Please show us Your beautiful lotus face. (7) Your lotus feet, which remove the sins of the embodied souls surrendered to You, which follow the cows grazing grass, which are the abode of the goddess and which stood on the hoods of the serpent, please put them on our breasts, and dispel the lust in our hearts. (8) Oh You with Your lotus eyes, because of Your sweet charming voice and words, which are so attractive to the intelligent souls, these maidservants, oh Hero, are getting bewildered. Please restore us to life with the nectar of Your lips. (9) The nectar of Your talks as described by the great thinkers, drive away the sins of the individual souls who suffer [in this material world]. Charged with spiritual power they are a blessing for everyone who hears them. Oh, how beneficent are the persons who with song spread those talks all over the world [*]

(10) We are happy to meditate on Your affectionate smiles full of divine love, Your glances and Your pastimes, but the intimate conversations, which go straight to our hearts, oh deceiver, agitate our minds! (11) When You leave Vraja to herd the animals, oh Master, it does not feel good, oh Lover, to think of Your feet being hurt by the sharp and hard grasses and sprouting plants, oh Master, those feet that are more beautiful than a lotus. (12) When You at the end of the day show again Your bluish black locks and Your lotus face, thickly covered with dust, You time and again bring Cupid to our minds, oh Hero. (13) Your lotus feet, which fulfill the desires of those bowing down to them and which are worshiped by the one born on the lotus [Brahmā], are the ornament of the earth and the proper object to meditate in times of distress. Therefore please, oh Lover, oh Remover of the Anxiety, place Your feet, which grant the highest satisfaction, upon our breasts. (14) Sorrow ends and the pleasure of love increases by the vibrations of the flute that, so perfectly handled [by You], makes us forget the attachments to other persons. So please, oh hero, grant us the nectar of Your lips! (15) When You wander about the forest during the day, a single moment becomes like an eon for us not seeing Your curling locks of hair and Your beautiful face. How foolish is he [Brahmā] who created the eyelids of those looking at You! (16) Completely neglecting our husbands, children, ancestors, brothers a nd other relatives, we sought Your presence, oh Acyuta, oh You who know the reasons of our movements. Oh cheater, how could You in the dead of night abandon the women who were bewildered by the clear sound of Your flute? (17) By intimately chatting with You finding the lust rising in our hearts, by seeing Your smiling face, loving glances and Your broad chest that is the abode of the goddess, our minds so full of craving, time and again got bewildered. (18) For those living in the forests of Vraja Your so very, for each and all, auspicious appearance constitutes the destruction of their distress, oh dearest. Please grant us a bit of that medicine counteracting the disease in the hearts of Your devotees hankering for You. (19) Your so tender lotus feet we, oh beloved, place gently on our breasts, afraid that the forest You roam might be too rough for them. We who consider Your Lordship our very life, with restless minds are concerned that they do not suffer any harm from small pebbles and so on [see further the S'ikshāshthaka].'

*: The pupils of Prabhupāda here refer to the following story: 'King Pratāparudra recited this verse to S'rī Caitanya Mahāprabhu during Lord Jagannātha's Ratha-yātrā festival. While the Lord was resting in a garden, king Pratāparudra humbly entered and began massaging His legs and lotus feet. Then the king recited the thirty-first chapter of the tenth Canto of the S'rīmad Bhāgavatam, the songs of the gopīs. The Caitanya-caritāmrita relates that when Lord Caitanya heard this verse, beginning tava kathāmritam, He immediately arose in ecstatic love and embraced king Pratāparudra. The incident is described in detail in the Caitanya-caritāmrita (Madhya 14.4 - 18), and in his edition S'rīla Prabhupāda has given an extensive commentary.'


Chapter 32: Krishna Returns to the Gopīs

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'The gopīs, oh King, thus went on singing and speaking deliriously, endearingly weeping loudly and hankering for the audience of Krishna. (2) The son of Vasudeva [or S'auri, 'the Son of the Hero'], the Bewilderer of [Cupid] the bewilderer of the mind, thereupon appeared directly before them, smiling with His lotuslike face and wearing a yellow garment and a garland. (3) When they saw that He, their dearest one, had returned to them, the girls full of affection opened their eyes wide and stood all simultaneously up as if life had returned to their bodies. (4) One of them joyfully seized the hand of S'auri with her folded palms while another one put His arm, adorned with sandalwood paste, around her shoulder. (5) A slender gopī took the remnants of the bethel He had chewed in her joined hands and another one took His lotus feet and placed them on her burning breasts. (6) Another one with frowning eyebrows biting her lips threw, beside herself in her love, agitated, sidelong looks at Him as if she wanted to harm Him. (7) Another one [said to be Rādhā] staring at Him relished His lotus face but could, despite the full taste, not get enough, just like saints cannot get enough of His feet. (8) One of them placed Him, through the openings of her eyes, in her heart and kept embracing Him there with her eyes closed, like a yogi being drowned in ecstasy while her hairs stood on end [*]. (9) All of them experienced a supreme jubilation at the sight of Kes'ava and gave up the distress of their separation, just like normal people do when they meet a spiritually enlightened person. (10) In the midst of those who were relieved of their sorrow, Acyuta, the Supreme Lord, appeared even more brilliant, my dear King, as the Original Person complete with all His spiritual potencies. (11-12) The Almighty One took them with Him and arrived at the banks of the Yamunā. There the auspicious river with the hands of her waves had collected soft sands. The kunda and mandāra flowers fragrantly bloomed with bees [attracted] by the autumnal breeze, while the moon, plentifully shining, with its rays dispelled the darkness of the night. (13) The pain of the desires in their heart was dispelled by the ecstasy of seeing Him. By arranging a seat for their dear friend, with their shawls which were smeared with the kunkuma from their breasts, the gopīs attained the ultimate fulfillment of their souls as [described in] the scriptures [see also 10.87: 23]. (14) The Supreme Lord and Controller for whom the masters of yoga arrange a seat in their hearts, present in the assembly of the gopīs was seated there resplendently. Thus exhibiting His personal form He was worshiped as the exclusive reservoir of all beauty and opulence in the three worlds. (15) He who awakens Cupid, was honored with smiles, with playful glances, with sporting their eyebrows, with massaging His feet and hands upon their laps, and was thus offered praise, but still being somewhat incensed they addressed Him. (16) The fine gopīs said: 'Some are of respect for those who respect them, some show respect without being respected themselves and some have no respect for anyone. Oh dear one, can You explain that to us?

(17) The Supreme Lord said: 'Friends respecting each other for their self-interest only, are no real friends that way because they, in just desiring their benefit, do not follow the principle. (18) They who are respectful and kind without being respected themselves, like parents e.g., are faultless in their sense of duty and of real friendship, oh slender girls. (19) As for those who have no respect for the ones who respect them, not even answering the love they receive: with them one may speak of either [spiritually] self-satisfied souls, of people whose material desires were fulfilled, of ungrateful, dissatisfied human beings, or else of persons inimical towards venerable personalities [like spiritual masters and superiors]. (20) My dear friends, I on the other hand do not [always] answer the respect I receive from other living beings, not even when I am worshiped, because I want to make that respect [that propensity for pure love] grow. It works like with a poor man who collected some wealth and, out of fear to lose it, can think of nothing else then [see also B.G. 4: 11 and 10.29: 27]. (21) Because you for My sake defied what the people, the scriptures and your relatives all say, and because of [My desire to increase] your propensity to love Me, I have answered actually out of love by disappearing from your sight, My dear girls [**]. So do not be displeased with your Beloved, oh dear ones. (22) I will, not even living as long as a god in heaven, be able to repay you for your unadulterated worship of Me. May your pious activities constitute the return [the reward] for your cutting with the so difficult to break chains of your household lives.'

*: S'rīla Vis'vanātha Cakravartī Thhākura states that the seven gopīs mentioned thus far in this chapter are the first seven of the eight principal gopīs of which the S'rī Vaishnava-toshanī in a verse gives the names as being Candrāvalī, S'yāmalā, S'aibyā, Padmā, S'rī Rādhā, Lalitā and Vis'ākhā. The eighth one is understood to be Bhadrā. The Skanda Purāna declares these eight gopīs to be the principal ones among the three billion gopīs and Rādhā is, as confirmed in the Padma Purāna, Brihad-gautamīya-tantra and the Rig-paris'ishtha, the Lord's most beloved one.

**: Intermitted reinforcement as practiced by Krishna so evanescently here, in fact creates the strongest bond, so confirms modern behavioral science. Thus with all His religions everywhere in the world there are days of materially motivated work where we do not see Him as He vanishes into the background, and days of prayer where we do meet Him by His representatives.


Chapter 33: The Rāsa Dance

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'When the gopīs heard these most charming words of the Supreme Lord, they gave up their lamentation about having been deserted. Touching His limbs had fulfilled all their desires. (2) Govinda thereupon on the spot engaged in a dance [a rāsa, or sport] in which those faithful jewels of women all satisfied joined with their arms linked together.

(3-4) The festival of the dance commenced with the gopīs positioned in a circle. Krishna, the Controller of the Mystic Union, always keeping Himself situated between two of them, held His arms around the necks of the women next to Him. At that moment the sky was crowded by hundreds of celestial carriers belonging to the denizens of heaven with their wives whose minds were carried away by curiosity. (5) Thereupon kettledrums resounded and a rain of flowers came down, while the chief singers of heaven together with their wives sang about His immaculate glories. (6) In the circle of the dance there was a great rumor of the bracelets, ankle bells and waist bells of the women being together with their Beloved. (7) The Supreme Lord, the son of Devakī, being together with them appeared as handsomely splendid as an exquisite [blue] sapphire in the midst of golden ornaments. (8) The way they placed their feet, by the gestures of their hands, their smiles, playful eyebrows and their bending waists, by their breasts moving beneath their clothes, their earrings at their necks and their perspiring faces, with the braids of their hair, their tightly tied belts and their singing about Him, they, in the role of Krishna's consorts, shone as streaks of lightening amidst the clouds. (9) They by whose song the entire universe is pervaded, sang loudly with their colored throats, danced joyfully and were happy in their dedication to be touched by Krishna. (10) One gopī who together with Krishna raised [her voice relative to His] in pure tones of close harmony, was praised by Him who pleased exclaimed: 'excellent, excellent!' And another gopī who vibrated along with them with a special metre, He also showed His great appreciation. (11) A certain gopī [Rādhā probably] whose bracelets and flowers were slipping, stood fatigued because of the dancing at the side of the Master of the Ceremony ['He who holds the club'] and grasped His shoulder with her arm. (12) Somewhere else there was one who placed Krishna's arm, which was as fragrant as a blue lotus, over her shoulder and kissed it, as she smelled the sandalwood with her hair standing on end. (13) Another one, looking beautiful with the glittering of her earrings shaking because of the dancing, placed her cheek next to His and received from Him the betel nut He had chewed. (14) One of them, who with Acyuta at her side was dancing and singing with tinkling ankle bells and waist bells, feeling tired, placed His auspicious lotus hand on her breasts. (15) Now that the gopīs had achieved the Infallible Lord, the Exclusive Lover of the Goddess of Fortune, as their lover, they enjoyed it, with His arms around their necks, to sing about Him. (16) With the lotus flowers behind their ears and the wreaths in their hair falling to the ground, with the locks of their hair decorating their cheeks and their beautiful faces perspiring, with the reverberation of the harmonious sounds of their armlets and bells and the bees buzzing around them, the gopīs danced together with the Supreme Lord in the arena of the dance. (17) The Master of the Goddess of Fortune, thus with His embraces, the touches of His hands, His affectionate glances and His broad playful smiles, enjoyed it to be together with the young women of Vraja, just like a boy does playing with His own reflection. (18) From the bodily contact with Him being overwhelmed in their senses, it was for the ladies of Vraja not easy to keep their hair, their dresses and the cloths, which covered their breasts, sufficiently tidy. Their flower garlands and ornaments were in disarray, oh best of the Kurus. (19) Seeing Krishna thus playing, the goddesses moving through the sky were seized by desires of love and the moon and his followers [the stars] got amazed. (20) Expanding Himself to as many [appearances] as there were cowherd women, He, despite being the Supreme Lord satisfied within, enjoyed the pastime He had with them. (21) Lovingly He, with His most soothing hand, kindly wiped the faces of the gopīs, my best one, when they felt tired from the pleasure of the romance. (22) The gopīs, greatly pleased by the touch of His fingernails, sang about the exploits of their Hero, honoring Him with the beauty of their smiles, glances and cheeks, that was heightened by the effulgence of their shining locks of hair and golden earrings.

(23) Being tired, He, with His garland crushed and smeared by the kunkuma of their breasts, quickly being followed by the bees [singing] like the best Gandharvas, entered together with the gopīs the water [of the Yamunā] in order to dispel the fatigue, just as a bull elephant does when he with his wives has broken the irrigation dikes [in their case: the normal rules of conduct]. (24) In the water He was splashed from all sides by the girls who looked at Him with love and laughter, my best one. Thereto from the heavenly carriers [of the gods] being worshiped with a rain of flowers He, who is personally always satisfied within, in that place reveled in playing [with the gopīs] like He was the king of the elephants [see also 8.3]. (25) Just like an elephant that is dripping rut with his wives, He then, surrounded by the swarm of His bees and women, passed through a grove nearby the Yamunā that everywhere was filled with the - by the wind  carried - fragrance of the flowers in the water and on the land. (26) He, the Truth of all Desires, thus with His many adoring girlfriends spent the night that was so bright because of the moonlight. He thereby controlled within Himself [during that one night] the romantic feelings He wished to honor during all autumn nights, the nights that so very much inspire for poetic descriptions of spiritual moods [or rasas].'

(27-28) S'rī Parīkchit said: 'In order to establish the dharma and to subdue the defiant souls, He, the Supreme Lord, the Controller of the Universe, descended with His plenary portion [Balarāma]. How could He, the original speaker, executor and protector of the codes of moral conduct, behave so to the contrary, oh brahmin, by touching the wives of other men? (29) What did He, being satisfied within, have in mind with this no doubt contemptible performance, oh upholder of the vows? Please dispel our doubt about this.'

(30) S'rī S'uka said: 'When mighty authorities transgress the rules of dharma and act boldly, it does not mean they are at fault. They are like an all-consuming fire [that is not affected by what it consumes]. (31) Someone not in control [of himself] must not even think of ever doing a thing like this. Being as foolish to act in such a way, means one's demise, one is not a Rudra who can drink the poison of the ocean [see 8.7]. (32) It are the words of the authorities that are true, their acts should only occasionally be taken as an example. Someone intelligent does only what is in agreement with their words [see also B.G. e.g. 3: 6-7, 3: 42, 5: 7]. (33) Just as they who act egolessly do not benefit from the good acts they perform, they neither will suffer any disadvantage when they act contrary to the virtue. (34) How can one speak in terms of right or wrong concerning the Controller(s) of those who are controlled - all the created beings, animals, human beings and denizens of heaven? (35) The sages [His representatives] who abandoned all karmic bondage by serving the dust of the lotus feet, are satisfied by the power of yoga and act freely, they never get entangled because of Him. Therefore one can never speak of a state of bondage of, or of being bound by, Him who assumed His wonderful bodies [for the sake of detachment, see vapu]. (36) He who, within the gopīs and their husbands, indeed within all embodied beings, lives as the Supreme Witness, assumes a form in this world in order to engage in His pastimes. (37) In order to show His mercy to His devotees, He, with assuming a humanlike body, engages in such [amorous] pastimes, that one hearing them becomes devoted to Him [see also 1.7: 10]. (38) The cowherd men of Vraja, who were bewildered by the power of His māyā, were not jealous of Krishna. They all thought that their wives had stayed at their side. (39) Even though the gopīs did not want to, the sweethearts of the Supreme Lord, on Krishna's advise went home after that [endless] night of Brahmā had passed. (40) Anyone who with faith listens to, or gives an account of, this pastime of Lord Vishnu with the cowherd girls of Vraja, will achieve the transcendental devotional service of the Supreme Lord. He will quickly become sober and forthwith drive away the disease of lust in his heart.'


Chapter 34: Sudars'ana Delivered and S'ankhacūdha Killed

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'The gopas one day, eager for God, with bullock carts went on a trip into the Ambikā forest. (2) There they took a bath in the Sarasvatī and worshiped with paraphernalia devotedly the mighty demigod Pas'upati [S'iva as the lord of the animals] and the goddess Ambikā [*], oh King. (3) Respectfully donating cows, gold, clothing and sweet grains to all the brahmins, they prayed: 'devo nah prīyatām' [may God be pleased with us]. (4) Following strict vows only drinking water [see 8.16], the highly blessed Nanda, Sunanda [Nanda's younger brother] and the others stayed that night on the bank of the Sarasvatī. (5) Some giant snake that was very hungry, happened to live in that forest and slithering on his belly began to swallow the sleeping Nanda. (6) Seized by the python he shouted: 'Krishna, oh Krishna, my dear boy, save this surrendered soul. This huge serpent is devouring me!' (7) Hearing his cries, the gopas rose immediately, and seeing what happened, they perplexed took up firebrands to attack the snake. (8) The snake, despite being burned by the torches, did not release Nanda. But the Supreme Lord, the Master of the Devotees came and touched him with His foot. (9) The divine touch of the Supreme Lord's foot put an end to his badness. He gave up his snake body and next assumed a form that was worshiped by the Vidyādharas [he was their leader]. (10) The Lord of the Senses then questioned the personality who, offering his obeisances and with his body adorned with a golden necklace, brilliantly shining stood before Him. (11) 'Who might you be who, shining so beautifully, are wonderful to behold? Tell Me what led to this terrible fate of having been forced to assume such a ghastly form [7.13: 11]?'

(12-13) The [erstwhile] serpent said: 'I am Sudars'ana, a certain Vidyādhara well-known for his opulence and appearance. I used to wander all the directions in my celestial carrier. Because I, conceited about my appearance, ridiculed the sages who descended from Angirā I, for my sin of deriding them, was made to assume this ugly form. (14) They, in their compassionate nature, with pronouncing their imprecation included the favor that all my viciousness would be destroyed after having being touched by the foot of the Master of All Worlds. (15) I beg You, that same person who for the surrendered souls are the remover of the fear of a material existence, oh You who by the touch of Your foot freed me from the curse, for Your permission [to return to my world], oh Destroyer of All Distress. (16) I am surrendered to You, oh Greatest of All Yogis, oh Supreme Personality, oh Master of the Truthful Ones. Please let me go, oh Lord, oh Controller of all the Controllers of the Universe. (17) Seeing You I was immediately freed from the punishment of the brahmins, oh Acyuta, oh You whose name, being sung, instantly purifies all those who may hear it, as also the singer himself. How much more then, would it mean to be touched by Your foot?'

(18) Thus circumambulating Him and offering his obeisances, Sudars'ana took leave. He returned to heaven and Nanda was delivered from his awkward position. (19) The men of Vraja, witnessing Krishna's personal display of power, stood amazed. Thereupon they on the spot finished their duties [unto S'iva] and returned to the cowherd village, oh King, [on their way] with reverence recounting what had happened.

(20) Some day thereafter [at Gaura-pūrnimā so one says] Govinda and Rāma, whose deeds are so wonderful, in the middle of the night were playing in the forest with the girls of Vraja. (21) Their glories were charmingly sung by the group of women bound in affection to Them, whose limbs were finely decorated and smeared, wearing flower garlands and spotless clothes. (22) The two of Them [together with them] honored the nightfall with the appearance of the moon and the stars, the jasmine buds which with their fragrance intoxicated the enjoying bees, and the breeze that transported the fragrance of the lotuses. (23) They both sang for the mind and ears of all living beings to be happy, therewith in harmony from high to low producing the entire scale of notes available. (24) The gopīs who listened to Their singing, in their fascination did not notice, oh ruler of man, that their dresses slipped and their hair and flowers got disheveled. (25) While the Two thus were amusing Themselves to their heart's content, singing to the point of ecstasy, a servant of Kuvera arrived on the scene carrying the name S'ankhacūdha ['wealthy-crest']. (26) Straight in front of Their eyes, oh King, he shamelessly drove the group of women away in the northern direction, while they were crying out to the Two they had chosen as their Lords. (27) Seeing that they who belonged to Them were seized by a thief like a couple of cows and were crying out 'Oh Krishna, oh Rāma, help us!', the two brothers ran after them. (28) Calling out 'Do not be afraid', They comforted them with Their words. Quickly moving with s'ala logs in Their hands They soon caught up with that worst specimen of all Yakshas who was speeding away with great haste. (29) When he saw the two approaching like Time and Death personified, he became afraid. In his confusion he left the women behind and ran for his life. (30) Govinda pursued him wherever he fled in order to rob him of his crest jewel, while Balarāma stayed behind to protect the women. (31) Overtaking him like it was nothing, the Almighty Lord with His fist knocked off the crest jewel of the villain together with his head. (32) After thus having killed S'ankhacūdha He brought the shining jewel to His elder brother and handed it satisfied over to Him while the gopīs were watching.'

*: Ambikā means mother, good woman, a name scripturally associated with the femininity of Ūma and Pārvatī in relation to Skanda, S'iva or Rudra, as a term of respect. Ambikāvana is found in the Gujarat province, near the city of Siddhapura. S'rīla Vis'vanātha Cakravartī Thhākura quotes authorities here who claim that Ambikāvana is situated at the bank of the Sarasvatī river [that does not exist any longer] and is found northwest of Mathurā. Ambikāvana is notable for its deities of S'rī S'iva and his wife, the goddess Ūma.



Chapter 35: The Gopīs Sing about Krishna as He Wanders in the Forest

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'Whenever Krishna had left for the forest, the gopīs, unhappy chasing Him in their mind, passed their days singing loudly about Krishna's pastimes.

(2-3) The gopīs said [in double verses]: 'With His left cheek put to His left arm He, oh gopīs, with His eyebrows moving, places the flute at His lips, while stopping the holes with His tender fingers. Where Mukunda thus sounds His flute, the women travel the sky together with the Siddhas. Embarrassed about the desires pursued by their minds, they listen in amazement and forget the sadness they felt, as also their girdles. (4-5) Oh girls, listen how wonderfully Nanda's son, the giver of joy to people in trouble, He with His brilliant smile and fixed streak of lightning [the S'rīvatsa or the goddess] on His chest, sounds His flute. Groups of bulls kept in the pasture, deer and cows, with their ears pricked up at a distance, with their mouths filled, stop chewing and, transfixed by His play, dreaming, stand frozen as if it concerned a drawn picture. (6-7) When Mukunda dear gopīs, looking like a wrestler with an arrangement of [peacock] feathers, [mineral] colors and leaves, together with Balarāma and the gopas, calls for the cows, the flow of the rivers is interrupted. The rivers, just like us lacking in piety, trembling out of love, with their arms of water stand perplexed, while hankering for the dust of His lotus feet that is transported by the wind. (8-9) When He, moving around in the forest and on the hillsides, as the Original Person with His flute calls for the cows and He, for His prowess and inexhaustible opulences, by His company extensively is praised in every way, the creepers and the trees, heavy with flowers and fruits, bend over all by themselves. As if they wanted to reveal Vishnu present within them, they in their love rain down torrents of sweet sap, while the growths on their bodies stand on end in ecstatic love. (10-11) The very moment He, as the most attractive one to behold, raises His flute, with respect for the desirable song of the strongly humming swarm of bees around His divine garland which is intoxicated by the honey sweet [subtle] fragrance of the tulsī flowers, oh then, the cranes, swans and other birds in the lake, with their minds seized by the charm of the song, come forward to pay Him homage with their eyes closed, keeping silent with their minds under control. (12-13) Oh Vraja devīs, when He, being together with Balarāma, for fun wears a garland on His head, and He at the mountain side gives happiness vibrating on His flute and makes the whole world delightfully enjoy, the deck of clouds, afraid to offend such a great personality, in return most gentle minded, thundering and raining flowers upon his Friend, offers its shade as a parasol. (14-15) Oh pious lady [Yas'odā], when your son, who is an expert in different cowherd matters and a genius in the different styles of playing, places His flute to His bimba-red lips to produce the harmonious sounds of His music, the masters of spiritual authority like Indra, S'iva and Brahmā, who hear that tonal variety, with their minds confounded bow their heads because they cannot fathom its essence. (16-17) When He plays His famous flute and, moving with the grace of an elephant, with His flower petal lotus feet marks the soil of Vraja with the different symbols of the flag, thunderbolt, lotus and elephant goad, He with His body relieves the earth from the distress caused by the hooves [of the cows]. As He walks [by] and bestows His playful glances, we get excited in our amorous feelings and stand transfixed like trees, in our bewilderment not knowing anymore [what the condition would be of] our dresses and braids.

(18-19) At times, when He, with the garland around His neck smelling of the by Him favored tulsī, counts the cows on a string of colored beads and then, throwing His arm over the shoulder of a loving companion, sings, the wives of the black deer, the doe  - just like the gopīs who gave up their civil aspirations -, approach that ocean of transcendental qualities to sit at His side with their hearts stolen by the sound produced by Krishna's flute. (20-21) Oh sinless lady, your darling child, the son of Nanda, is now, with His attire ornamented with a garland of jasmine flowers and surrounded by the gopas and the cows, having fun playing with His companions along the Yamunā. The wind gently blowing in His favor, honors Him there with a touch of sandalwood scent, while the lesser divinities [the Upadevas] surrounding Him present Him gifts and offer praise with instrumental music and songs. (22-23) Taking care of the cows of Vraja and at His feet being worshiped as the lifter of the mountain [see 10.25] He, at the end of the day, collected the herd of cows. Playing His flute with His companions, He on His way was everywhere worshiped by all adults [and demigods]. This moon, born from the womb of Devakī, who came with the wish to fulfill the desires of His friends, was, even when He was tired and His garland was colored by the dust raised by the hooves, a feast for the eyes. (24-25) He greets His well-wishing friends while slightly rolling His eyes as if He is intoxicated. With His garland of forest flowers, with His face paled like a jujube plum [a badara], with the soft line of His cheeks and with the beauty of the golden earrings adorning Him, He is the Lord of the Yadus, the Lord sporting just like the lord of the elephants. His joyful face is like the moon, the lord of the night, who at the end of the day dispels the miserable heat of the cows [and the gopīs] of Vraja.'

(26) S'rī S'uka said: 'Oh King, the women of Vraja, with their hearts and minds absorbed in Him, thus enjoyed their days, highly spirited singing about Krishna's pastimes.'



Chapter 36: The Bull Arishthāsura Defeated and Akrūra Sent by Kamsa

(1) The son of Vyāsa said: 'Some time later the bull demon named Arishtha, who had a huge hump, came to the cowherd village. The earth trembled because of his body as he ripped open the soil with his hooves. (2) Bellowing very loudly and scraping the ground with his hooves he, with his tail upward and with the tips of his horns tearing up the mud walls and throwing up clods, with glaring eyes released little bits of urine and stool. (3-4) The harsh sound he produced and the frightening sight of his pointed horns and his hump, which looked like a mountain with amassing clouds, so terrified the gopas and gopīs, my best one, that the women and the cows in their fear untimely lost their fetuses in miscarriages. (5) The animals panicked and fled from the pasture, oh King, while all the people cried 'Krishna, Krishna!', seeking Govinda for shelter. (6) The Supreme Lord, seeing the entire cow-community distraught fleeing in fear, pacified them with the words 'do not fear' and called out to the bull demon: (7) 'You dull-witted, bad creature, how dare you in the presence of Me, the chastiser of foul miscreants like you, to frighten these gopas and their animals?!'

(8) Acyuta, the Lord, thus speaking, slapped His arms to anger Arishtha with the sound of His palms and assumed a posture thereto in which He threw His serpentine arm over a friend's shoulder. (9) He indeed managed that way to enrage Arishtha who furiously scratched the earth with his hoof and with his tail raised to the wandering clouds attacked Krishna. (10) Bloodthirsty staring from the corners of his eyes, he pointed his horns straight ahead and ran full speed toward Acyuta, like he was a thunderbolt released by Indra. (11) The Supreme Lord though, seized him by the horns and threw him back eighteen feet, like he was an elephant with a rival. (12) Warded off he quickly restored to charge again in blind anger, to which he, sweating all over, breathed heavily. (13) Attacking Him he was [by the Lord] seized by his horns and made to trip by His foot, so that he slapped down to the ground like a wet garment. The Lord thereupon struck him with his horn [broken off] until he lay flat. (14) Vomiting blood, excreting a mass of urine and stool, and throwing his legs about, he in pain rolling with his eyes left for the abode of Death. The demigods thereupon scattered flowers upon the Lord in worship. (15) After thus having killed the demon with the big hump, He, that feast for the eyes of the gopīs, together with Balarāma entered the cowherd village while being praised by the twice-born souls.

(16) With the demon Arishtha being killed by the Worker of Miracles, Krishna, the powerful sage Nārada, who has the vision of God, said to Kamsa: [see 1.6: 25-29] (17) 'Devakī's daughter actually was Yas'odā's girl, Balarāma was the son of Rohinī and Krishna was also born from Devakī. Vasudeva out of fear placed Them in charge of his friend Nanda, They [Krishna and Balarāma] were the two who killed your men.'

(18) The lord of Bhoja hearing that, raging with anger, took up a sharp sword to kill Vasudeva. (19) Nārada withheld Kamsa [by saying] that Vasudeva's two sons would bring about his death. With that in mind he then chained him and his wife up with iron shackles [see also 10.1: 64-69]. (20) After the devarishi had left, Kamsa spoke with the demon Kes'ī and told him: 'You are the one to kill Rāma and Kes'ava.'

(21) Then he called together Mushthika, Cānūra, S'ala, Tos'ala and others, as also his ministers and his elephant keepers. The king of Bhoja said to them: (22-23) 'Mushthika and Cānūra, dear mates, please listen to what I have to say, oh heroes. The two sons of Ānakadundubhi are living in the cowherd village of Nanda. It was foretold that Krishna and Balarāma would cause my death. If we manage to get Them here for the sake of a wrestling match, you can kill Them. (24) Build a ring with various stages around it. Let all subjects from inside and outside the city witness an open competition. (25) Dear elephant-keeper, you my good man, should take the elephant Kuvalayāpīda to the entrance of the arena and destroy there my enemies. (26) It has to commence on the fourteenth [Caturdas'ī] of the month with the bow-sacrifice performed according to the injunctions. For the Lord of the Spirits [S'iva], the graceful one, the proper kind of animals should be offered in sacrifice.'

(27) Thus having issued his orders he, well versed in the art of securing one's personal interest, called for Akrūra ['the one not cruel'], the most eminent Yadu. He took his hand into his own and then said: (28) 'Dear master of charity, please do me a favor. With all respect, there is no one among the Bhojas and Vrishnis to be found who is as merciful as you are. (29) The way Indra, the mighty king of heaven achieved his goals by taking shelter of Lord Vishnu, I have taken shelter of you, oh kind one, for you always carry out your duties respectfully. (30) Go to Nanda's cowherd village where the two sons of Ānakadundubhi live and bring Them without delay here on this chariot. (31) These Two have been sent by the gods, under the protection of Vishnu, for the sake of my death. Bring Them together with the gopas headed by Nanda over here, and tell them to take along gifts of tribute. (32) When you have brought Them here I will have Them killed by the elephant, that is as mighty as time itself. And if They manage to escape that, my wrestlers, who are as strong as lightning, will put an end to Them. (33) After the two of Them are dead I will next kill the pained relatives whose leader is Vasudeva: the Vrishnis, Bhojas and the Das'ārhas [see again 10.1: 67]. (34) And my old father Ugrasena, so greedy for the kingdom, I will give the same treatment, as also his brother Devaka and my other opponents. (35) The thorns of this earth, oh friend, will thus be destroyed. (36) Together with my elder relative [my father-in-law] Jarāsandha and my dear friend Dvivida, as also with determined comrades like S'ambara, Naraka and Bāna, I will enjoy this earth, killing all those kings who side with the demigods. (37) And now, with this knowledge, bring me quickly the young boys Rāma and Krishna, to attend the bow-sacrifice here and to respect the glory of the Yadu capital [of Mathurā].'

(38) S'rī Akrūra said: 'Oh King, there is nothing wrong with your approach to free yourself from unwanted elements. One should act irrespective failure or success, destiny after all determines the end result. (39) Even though providence foils his plans, the common man fervently acts to his desires and is confronted with happiness and distress. Nonetheless I will execute your order.'

(40) S'rī S'uka said: 'After Kamsa thus had instructed Akrūra and dismissed his ministers, he entered his quarters, and Akrūra returned home.'


Chapter 37: Kes'ī and Vyoma Killed and Nārada Eulogizes Krishna's Future

(1-2) S'rī S'uka said: 'Then there was Kes'ī being sent by Kamsa [in 10.36: 20]. He as a huge horse with his hooves with the speed of mind ripped open the earth and scattered the clouds as also the celestial carriers of the gods. With his manes and neighing he frightened everyone. The Supreme Lord in response to the stir of the clouds created by his tail and his whinnying that terrified His cowherd village, thereupon stepped forward to fight. He called for Kes'ī who roaring like a lion was searching Him. (3) The moment he, who was hard to conquer and approach and most aggressively with a wide open mouth was swallowing the sky, saw Him before him, he rushed furiously forward to attack the lotus-eyed Lord with his legs. (4) The Lord of the Beyond alert to that dodged that attack and seized him with His arms by the legs. He whirled him around indifferently and threw him at a distance of a hundred bow lengths, standing there just like the son of Tārkshya [Garuda] throwing a snake. (5) Regaining his consciousness he stood up in bitter rage and ran, [with his mouth] wide open, full speed at the Lord. With a smile He then put His left arm in Kes'ī's mouth, like it was a snake in a hole. (6) As Kes'ī's teeth came in touch with the Lord's arm, they fell out as if they had come in contact with a red-hot iron. Thereupon the arm of the Supreme Soul swelled within his body, so that his belly expanded like a diseased belly does after being neglected. (7) Because Krishna's arm thus expanded, his breathing was arrested. Kicking with his legs, perspiring all over, rolling with his eyes and excreting feces, he thereupon fell lifeless to the ground. (8) After the Mighty-armed One had retracted His arm from the dead body, which looked like a cucumber [karkathikā], He, unassuming as He was in His effortlessly having killed His enemy, was honored from above by the gods with a rain of flowers.

(9) The devarishi [Nārada], the most exalted devotee of the Lord, oh King, approached Krishna in private and said the following to Him who is so effortless in His actions: (10-11) 'Krishna, oh Krishna, oh Vāsudeva, immeasurable Soul, oh Lord of Yoga, oh Controller of the Universe, oh shelter of each, oh You master and very best of the Yadus! You alone are the Soul of all living beings who, like fire hidden in firewood, resides within the heart as the Witness, the Lord, the Supreme Personality. (12) You, as the refuge of the spiritual soul, first of all, through Your energy, produced the basic qualities of nature. Unfailing in Your purpose You through these modes create, destroy and maintain this universe. (13) You, this one [creator] Himself, have descended for the protection of the virtuous souls and for the destruction of the demons [Daityas], the savages [Rākshasas] and tormentors [Pramathas], who have the world of the living beings in their grip. (14) To our great fortune You in person have sportively killed this demon who assumed the form of a horse and because of whose neighing being terrified the vigilant gods abandoned heaven. (15-20) The day after tomorrow, I will see that Cānūra, Mushthika and other wrestlers, as also the elephant [Kuvalayāpīda] and Kamsa, are killed by You, oh Almighty One. Thereafter [the demons] S'ankha, [Kāla-]yavana, Mura and Naraka will follow, You will steal the pārijāta flower and defeat Indra. I will see You marry the daughters of the heroes [the kings] as a reward for Your valor. In Dvārakā You will deliver King Nriga from his curse, oh Master of the Universe, and capture the jewel named Syamantaka together with a wife. You will retrieve the deceased son of a brahmin [Sāndīpani Muni] from Your abode [of death] and then You will kill Paundraka, burn down the city of Kās'ī [Benares] and see to the demise of Dantavakra. Thereafter You will kill the king of Cedi [S'is'upāla] at the great sacrifice [see also 3.2: 19, 7.1: 14-15]. The poets on this earth will be singing about these and other great feats, that I will see You perform during Your stay in Dvārakā. (21) Then I will see You, as the charioteer of Arjuna, assume the form of Time in bringing about the destruction of the armed forces of this world. (22) Let us approach [You who are] this Supreme Lord, full of the purest wisdom, who is completely fulfilled in His original identity, whose will in none of His exploits can be thwarted, and who, by the power of His potency, always desists from [identifying with] the flow of things occurring with the [interaction of the] basic qualities of the illusory, material energy. (23) For You I am bowed down, You the Greatest of the Yadus, Vrishnis and Sātvatas, the self-contained Controller who, by Your creative potency, has arranged for an endless number of specific situations in which You immediately could act and in which You have taken upon Yourself [the burden of] humanity being divided [in warfare].

(24) S'rī S'uka said: 'The most eminent sage among the devotees, thus respectfully having honored Krishna, the leading Yadu, received permission to leave and went away, most delighted about having seen Him. (25) Govinda, the Supreme Lord who in a fight had killed Kes'ī, still tended the animals together with the cowherd boys, who were most pleased with the happiness He brought to Vraja. (26) One day, when the gopas were grazing the animals on the slopes of the hill, they engaged in the game 'stealing and hiding', playing the roles of thieves and herders. (27) Some of them were therein the thieves, some were the shepherds, while a couple of them, oh King, played for the unsuspecting sheep. (28) A son of the demon Maya named Vyoma ['the sky'], a powerful magician, disguised himself as a gopa and then, engaging as one of the many thieves, led away almost all the boys who acted as the sheep. (29) The great demon threw them one by one in a mountain cave the entrance of which he blocked with a boulder, so that only four or five of them remained. (30) Krishna, He who offers shelter to all pious souls, finding out what he was doing, seized the gopa carrier as forcefully as a lion would seize a wolf. (31) The demon resumed his original form that was as big as a mountain. By all means he tried to free himself, but held tightly in His grip he, being debilitated, failed. (32) Controlling him with His arms, Acyuta forced him to the ground and, while the gods in heaven were watching, He killed him like it concerned a sacrificial animal. (33) He broke through the blocked entrance of the cave and led the gopas out of their awkward position, whereupon He, praised by the gopas and the gods, returned to His cowherd village.'


Chapter 38: Akrūra's Musing and Reception in Gokula

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'The high-minded soul Akrūra spent the night in the city of Mathurā [after 10.36: 40] and then mounted his chariot to go to Nanda's cowherd village. (2) On his way he experienced an exceptional amount of devotion for the greatly fortunate lotus-eyed Personality of Godhead, and thus he thought as follows: (3) 'What good works have I done, what severe penance did I suffer, or else of what worship have I been or what charity have I given, that I today may see Kes'ava? (4) My attainment of the presence of the One Praised in the Verses is, I think, for someone with a worldly mind [like me] as difficult to achieve as the chanting of the Vedas is for someone of the lowest class. (5) But enough of that, even for a fallen soul like me there is a chance to acquire the audience of Acyuta. Some time someone, pulled along by the river of time, may reach the other shore! (6) Today my impurity will be uprooted and my birth will bear fruit, for it are the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, whereupon the yogis meditate, that I am going to respect. (7) Kamsa sending me here did me a great service indeed by obliging me to look for the feet of the Lord who descended into this world. It is by the effulgence of His rounded toenails that in the past many a soul succeeded in freeing himself from the hard to overcome darkness of a material existence. (8) On these [feet] that, marked by the red kunkum from the breasts of the gopīs, are worshiped by Brahmā, S'iva and the other demigods, by S'rī the goddess of fortune, the sages and the devotees, He with His companions moves about in the forest while tending the cows. (9) The deer are passing me on my right side [an auspicious  sign]! I certainly will behold Mukunda's beautiful cheeks and nose, His smiles, the glances of His reddish lotus eyes and the hair curling around His face. (10) Today I no doubt will enjoy the direct sight of Vishnu. I unfailingly will directly behold that paragon of beauty, who of His own accord assumed the form of a human being to diminish the burden of this earth. (11) Even though He is a witness [just like me] to the true and untrue, He is free from [false] ego. By that personal potency of Him He has dispelled the darkness and bewilderment of an existence in separation [see also 2.5: 14, 2.10: 8-9, 3.27: 18-30 and 10.3: 18]. Working from the inside out, He, by the created beings that manifested after He cast His glance upon the material energy of His creation, in their bodies can [only indirectly] be approached through the vital airs, senses and intelligence [see also 2.2: 35]. (12) His auspicious words, in combination with the qualities, activities and the incarnations [of Him and His expansions], put an end to all sins in the world and bring life, beauty and purity to the entire universe, while words devoid of these are considered as [useful as] things that beautify a corpse. (13) And now He, to the delight of the chief demigods, has descended in the dynasty of His faithful souls [the Sātvatas] who maintain the codes of conduct, He who, with His presence in Vraja, spreads His fame as the Controller whose all-auspicious nature is glorified by the godly souls. (14) Today I will certainly see Him, the destination and spiritual master of all the great souls in the three worlds, He the real beauty and great feast for everyone endowed with eyes, He who exhibits the form that is the desire of the Goddess, He who is my safe haven, the One because of whom all my dawns became [a sign of] His auspicious presence. (15) The moment I alight from my chariot to respect the feet of the two Lords, the Principal Personalities upon whom even the yogis fix their intelligence in their self-realization, I will certainly bow down to Them as also to the friends [and the others] who live with Them in the forest. (16) And when I have fallen at the base of His feet, the Almighty One will place upon my head His lotus hand that dispels the fear for the serpent of time, the snake because of whose swift force the people terrified seek shelter. (17) By placing in that hand an offering, Purandara [see 8.13: 4] and also Bali [see 8.19] acquired rulership [the position of Indra] over the three worlds. It is the same hand that, fragrant like an aromatic flower, during the pastime with the ladies of Vraja, by its touch wiped away their fatigue [see 10.33]. (18) Even though I am a messenger sent by Kamsa, Acyuta will not adopt an attitude of enmity towards me. He, the Knower of the Field [of the body, see B.G. 13: 3], witnessing everything taking place inside and outside the heart, sees with a perfect vision. (19) Smiling affectionately He will look upon me, with my joined palms being fixed at the basis of His feet. With the immediate eradication of all my sins by His glance, I will thus be freed from doubt and achieve intense happiness. (20) With me [standing before Him] as His best friend and as a family member who is exclusively devoted to Him, He will close me in His two large arms. As a result my body will instantly become sanctified and my karma determined bonds will slacken. (21) When I, with my head down and palms joined, have achieved physical contact with Him, Urus'rava ['the renown Lord'] will address me with words like 'Oh Akrūra, dear relative...' Because of the Greatest of All Persons my life will thus be a success. How pitiable is the birth of the one not this way honored by Him! (22) No one is His favorite or best friend, nor is anyone disliked by Him, hated or held in contempt by Him [see B.G. 9: 29]. Nevertheless He reciprocates with His devotees [see also 10.32: 17-22] according to their actions, just like a [desire] tree from heaven that, upon approach, brings whatever one desires [see vaishnava pranāma]. (23) In addition His elder brother, the most excellent Yadu [Balarāma], smiling at me who stands there with a head bowed down, will embrace me, take hold of my hands and take me into His house to receive me with all respects, and then inquire how Kamsa fares together with the members of His family.'

(24) S'rī S'uka said: 'Thus on his way with his chariot pondering over Krishna, the son of S'vaphalka [see 9.24: 15] reached the village of Gokula as the sun was setting behind the mountain, oh King. (25) The imprints of His feet, of which the rulers of all worlds hold the pure dust on their crowns, he saw in the pasture: a wonderful decoration on the ground showing the shapes of the lotus, the barleycorn, the elephant goad and so on [see also 10.16: 18 and 10.30: 25*]. (26) The ecstasy of seeing them exited him greatly, made his hair stand on end and filled his eyes with tears. Getting down from his chariot he rolled himself in the footprints exclaiming: 'Oh this is the dust from my master's feet!' (27) This is what for all embodied beings is the goal of life: to give up one's pride, fear and sorrow when one is faced with the message of the signs of the Lord and hears about them and such [see 7.5: 23-24].

(28-33) In Vraja he saw Krishna and Rāma, who, wearing yellow and blue garments and with eyes that looked like autumnal lotuses, were going to the place where the cows were milked. The two boys who are the shelter of the Goddess were, bluish-dark and fair skinned, most beautiful to behold with their mighty arms, attractive faces and a gait like that of a young elephant. With Their feet marked by the flag, bolt, goad and lotus, and with Their smiles and glances full of compassion, the two great souls increased the beauty of the cow pasture. They whose pastimes were so magnanimous and attractive, were freshly bathed, impeccably dressed, wore flower garlands and jeweled necklaces, and had smeared Their limbs with auspicious, fragrant substances. The two original, most excellent persons, who are the Cause and the Masters of the universe [see also 5.25], had for the welfare of that universe descended in Their distinct forms of Balarāma and Kes'ava. Oh King, with their effulgence They, as a mountain of emerald and a mountain of silver both decorated with gold, dispelled the darkness in all directions. (34) Quickly climbing down from his chariot Akrūra, overwhelmed with affection, prostrated himself at the feet of Rāma and Krishna. (35) Seeing the Supreme Personality he, because of the tears of joy overflowing his eyes and the eruptions [of ecstasy] marking his limbs, in his eagerness could not announce himself, oh King. (36) The Supreme Lord, the Caretaker of the Surrendered Souls, recognized him, drew him near with His hand, which is marked with a chariot wheel [the cakra], and happily embraced him. (37-38) Thereupon the magnanimous Sankarshana [Rāma] embraced him who stood there with his head bowed down. With His hand taking hold of his two hands He took him together with His younger brother into the house. There He inquired whether he had enjoyed a pleasant journey. He offered him an excellent seat and washed his feet with sweetened milk, as was prescribed as a form of reverential respect. (39) Donating a cow in charity and respectfully giving the tired guest a massage, the Almighty One faithfully served him pure food of different tastes [fit for a sacrifice]. (40) After having eaten Rāma, the Supreme Knower of the Dharma, with love further arranged for herbs to serve the tongue and for fragrances and flower garlands for the highest satisfaction.

(41) After thus having honored him Nanda asked: 'Oh descendant of Das'ārha, how are you faring with the merciless Kamsa alive, that boss who is [treating his subjects] just like a butcher [deals] with sheep? (42) If he, being cruel and self-indulgent, killed the babies of his own sister to her great distress, what then would that mean for the well-being of his subjects, for you?'

(43) Thus by Nanda properly being respected with true and pleasing words, Akrūra shook off the fatigue of his journey.'


Chapter 39: Krishna and Balarāma Leave for Mathurā

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'After comfortably seated on a couch thus having been honored that much by Rāma and Krishna, he [Akrūra] saw that everything had taken place what he on his way had pictured in his mind. (2) What would be unattainable when the Supreme Lord, the shelter of S'rī, is satisfied? Still, the souls devoted to Him, oh King, do not desire anything. (3) After having enjoyed supper the Supreme Lord, the son of Devakī, asked how Kamsa treated His friends and relatives, as also what his plans were. (4) The Supreme Lord said: 'Oh gentle one, have you recovered from your trip? I wish you all the best! Are your friends, relatives and other associates all hale and hearty? (5) But why, My dear one, would I ask about the well-being of us, our relatives and the citizens, as long as Kamsa, that disease of the family, who only in name is our maternal uncle, is prospering? (6) Ah! Because of Me there was great suffering for My noble parents: their sons were killed and they were imprisoned. (7) Fortunately, today My wish has been fulfilled to see you, My close relative, oh gentle soul. Please uncle, tell Me why you came here.'

(8) S'rī S'uka said: 'On the request of the Supreme Lord the descendant of Madhu [Akrūra, see 9.23: 29] described everything of the inimical attitude [of Kamsa] towards the Yadus and his murderous intentions in relation to Vasudeva. (9) He disclosed what the message was he was sent for as an envoy and what Nārada had told him [Kamsa] about Krishna being born as a son of Ānakadundubhi. (10) When Krishna and Balarāma, the destroyer of all boldness in opposition, heard what Akrūra had to say, They laughed and told Nanda, Their [foster] father, what the king had ordered. (11-12) Nanda then issued the following official announcement to the gopas and the other people of Gokula: 'Gather all dairy products, take gifts and yoke the wagons. Tomorrow we together with all the people, will go to Mathurā to offer the king our products and have a great festival.'

(13) When the cowherd girls heard that Akrūra had come to Vraja to take Rāma and Krishna along to the city, they got totally upset. (14) That created in the hearts of some of them such a great pain, that their beautiful faces turned pale because of their sighing, while the knots in the hair, the bracelets and dresses of other girls slipped away. (15) Of other gopīs fixed in meditation on Him, all the sensory functions ceased, so that they took no notion of this world anymore, just like it happens with those who attained the realm of self-realization. (16) Women fainted, thinking of how S'auri had touched their hearts by sending His loving smiles and expressing Himself in wonderful phrases. (17-18) Thinking about Mukunda's charming movements, His activities, affectionate smiles, His glances that removed all unhappiness, His jesting words and mighty deeds, they joined in fear of the separation, greatly distressed, in groups to speak deeply absorbed with tears on their faces, about Acyuta. (19) The fine gopīs said: 'Oh Providence, where is your mercy to bring together the embodied souls in love and friendship? Separating us you leave us unfulfilled in our purposes. How uselessly you, just like a child, toy with us! (20) Having shown to us the face of Mukunda framed in black locks, His fine cheeks, straight nose, and the beauty of His modest smile dispelling the misery, you are not doing any good by [now] making all of this invisible to us. (21) By the name of Akrūra ['not-cruel'] you certainly are cruel, in your, like a fool, alas, taking away from us the Perfection of All Creation in one form, the enemy of Madhu, you allowed our eyes to see. (22) The son of Nanda breaks in a moment with His friendship. He has taken up a new love and has, alas, no eyes for us [anymore], we who under His influence were made to give up our homes, relatives, children and husbands, and directly serve Him. (23) How happy the dawn is after this night, when unfailingly the hopes have been fulfilled of the women of the city [of Mathurā]! For then they imbibe the face of the master of Vraja arriving there with the nectarean smile from the corners of His eyes. (24) However subservient and intelligent Mukunda may be, once His mind is seized by their honey-sweet words, oh girls, what chance is there for us? Would He, spellbound by the enchantments of their bashful smiles, still return to us rustics? (25) Today there certainly will be a great festival before the eyes of the Dās'ārhas, Bhojas, Andhakas, Vrishnis and Sātvatas and all others out there, when they on the road see the Darling of the Goddess, the reservoir of all transcendental qualities who is the son of Devakī. (26) Such an unkind person, a person as extremely cruel as he, should not be called 'a-krūra' because he, without the least excuse, removes from the presence of us people [of Vraja] full of sorrow, the one dearer to us than the dearest. (27) He who so coldly has mounted the chariot [Krishna], is by these foolish gopas followed in their bullock carts. And the elders do not even say a word. Today providence is not working in our favor! (28) Let us go to Him now and stop Him! What will that do to us, the family, the elders and our relatives, we who not even for half a second can miss the association of Mukunda? Separated by that fate our hearts will be broken! (29) For us, who by the charm of His loving affection, attractive smiles, intimate discussions, playful glances and embraces, were drawn to the assembly of the rāsa dance [10.33], the night passed in a single moment! How, oh gopīs, can we ever defeat the insurmountable darkness of His absence? (30) How can we ever exist without Him, that Friend of Ananta [Balarāma], who at the end of the day, surrounded by the gopas entered Vraja with His hair and garland smeared with the dust of the hoofs, He who, playing His flute and smiling from the corners of His eyes, stole our minds with His glances?'

(31) S'rī S'uka said: 'Thus speaking in pain about the separation, the ladies of Vraja, in attachment thinking of Krishna, forgot all their shame and cried out loudly: 'Oh Govinda, oh Dāmodara, oh Mādhava!'

(32) While the women were lamenting thus, Akrūra at sunrise, after having performed his morning duties, set out with his chariot. (33) The gopas, who led by Nanda followed Him in their wagons, took along an abundance of offerings and clay pots filled with dairy products. (34) Also the gopīs followed their beloved Krishna [for some time] and [then] stood waiting, hoping for some pleasing words from the Lord. (35) The Greatest among the Yadus saw them lamenting at His departure and consoled them lovingly with the message: 'I will do My best!' (36) Sending their minds after Him for as long as the flag and the dust of the chariot were visible, they stood there like painted figures. (37) Without the hope of ever seeing Him back, they returned and free from sorrow spent their days and nights singing about the activities of their Beloved

(38) With the chariot moving as swiftly as the wind, the Supreme Lord together with Rāma and Akrūra, oh King, arrived at the Yamunā, the river removing all sin. (39) After touching the water there with His hand and drinking the sweet liquid that was as effulgent as jewels, He led the chariot to a grove and then climbed [back] on it together with Balarāma. (40) Akrūra asked Them to stay behind on the chariot and went to a pool in the Yamunā to perform a bath in accord with the injunctions. (41) Immersing himself in that water and reciting perennial mantras, Akrūra saw before him the likeness of Rāma and Krishna. (42-43) He thought: 'How can the two sons of Ānakadundhubhi positioned on the chariot be present here? Let me see whether They are still there...', and rising from the water he saw Them sitting where he had left Them. Again alone entering the water he wondered: 'Was my vision of Them in the water a hallucination maybe?' (44-45) And again he saw in that same place the Lord of the Serpents [Ananta or Balarāma], the Godhead with the thousands of heads, hoods and helmets, who by the perfected souls, the venerable souls, the singers of heaven and those of darkness was praised with bowed heads. Clad in blue and [with a complexion] as white as the filaments of a lotus stem, He was situated there like mount Kailāsa with its white peaks. (46-48) On His lap there was situated peacefully, like a dark cloud, the Original Personality with the four arms, clad in yellow silk. He had reddish eyes like the petals of a lotus, an attractive cheerful face with a charming, smiling glance, fine eyebrows, ears and a straight nose, beautiful cheeks and red lips. He had high shoulders and a broad chest home to the Goddess, stout, long arms and a conch shell-like neck, a deep navel and a belly with lines like those of a [banyan] leaf. (49-50) He had firm hips and loins, two thighs like an elephant's trunk, shapely knees and an attractive pair of shanks. His ankles were high, reddish were the rays emanating from His toenails, and the soft toes of His lotus feet surrounding His two big toes glowed like flower petals. (51-52) Adorned with a helmet bedecked with large and precious gems, wearing bracelets, armlets, a belt, a sacred thread, necklaces, ankle bells and earrings, He carried an effulgent lotus, a conch shell, a disc and a club in His hands, next to the S'rīvatsa mark on His chest, His brilliant Kaustubha jewel and a flower garland. (53-55) He was accompanied by attendants headed by Nanda and Sunanda and was, according to each different type of loving attitude, praised in sanctified words by Sanaka and the others [the Kumāras], by the leading demigods headed by Brahmā and S'iva, by the foremost twice-born souls [headed by Marīci] and by the most exalted devotees led by Prahlāda, Nārada and Vasu. He was served by His [feminine] internal potencies of fortune [S'rī], development [Pushthi or also strength], speech [Gīr or knowledge], beauty [Kānti], renown [Kīrti], contentment [Tushthi or renunciation - these first ones are His six opulences]; comfort [Ilā, bhū-s'akti, the earth-element or sandhinī] and power [Ūrjā, expanding as Tulasī] as also by His potencies of knowing and ignorance [vidyā and avidyā, leading to liberation and bondage], His internal pleasure potency [S'akti or hlādinī], [His marginal potency, jīva-s'akti] and His creative potency [Māyā].

(56-57) Witnessing this to his great pleasure, he [Akrūra], stood enthused with supreme devotion, with the hairs of his body standing on end and with his eyes and body getting wet because of his loving ecstasy. Regaining his composure the great devotee with a choked voice offered his respects with his head bowed down. Joining his hands he attentively prayed slowly.'


Chapter 40: Akrūra's Prayers

(1) S'rī Akrūra said: 'I bow down to You, oh Lord Nārāyana, Cause of All Causes, oh Original Inexhaustible Person, oh You from whose navel the lotus sprouted on the whorl of which Lord Brahmā appeared who generated this world. (2) Earth, water, fire, air, the ether including its source [the false ego]; the totality of matter [see footnote 10.13: ***] and its origin [the Purusha]; the mind, the senses, the objects of all the senses and the demigods [belonging to them], together constitute the [secondary] causes of the universe that have generated from Your [transcendental] body. (3) They, under the [outer] direction of the material realm, have because of that lifelessness no knowledge about the true identity of the Supreme Self, Your Soul. Also the unborn one [Brahmā] being bound to the modes of material nature, cannot know Your form transcendental to these modes [see also 10.13: 40-56]. (4) It is to the honor of You that the yogis perform sacrifice, You, the Supreme Personality and Controller within each, within the material elements, and within the ruling gods and saints. (5) Some brahmins worship You, with respect for the three sacred [agni-traya] fires, by means of the mantras of the three Vedas elaborately with various rituals for deities of different names and forms. (6) Some who strive for spiritual knowledge, attain peace by renouncing all fruitive actions and worship the embodiment of knowledge [the guru, the Lord] by means of sacrifices in the field of spiritual knowledge [see e.g. B.G. 4: 28, 17: 11-13, 18: 70]. (7) Others, whose intelligence is purified by the principles [the vidhi] included by You, worship You, absorbed in You, as the one form assuming many forms. (8) Still others worship You, the Supreme Lord, in the form of Lord S'iva, by treading the path described by Lord S'iva that in different ways is presented by many teachers. (9) Even though they as devotees of other divinities are of a different attention, they all worship You who, as the Controller, comprises all the gods [see B.G. 9: 23]. (10) Just like the rivers that, filled by the rain and springing from the mountains, from all sides enter the ocean, oh master, similarly all these paths [of the demigods] finally lead to You [see B.G. 2: 70, 9: 23-25, 10: 24 and 11: 28]. (11) All the conditioned living beings, from the unmoving ones up to Lord Brahmā, are caught in the qualities [gunas] of goodness [sattva], passion [rajas] and ignorance [tamas] of Your material nature [see B.G. 14]. (12) I offer You, the Soul of All Souls my obeisances, You who, with a detached vision, are present as the witness and the consciousness of everyone, as He who, with this stream of the material modes which was created by Your lower energy, deals with the souls who identify themselves therewith as gods, human beings and animals. (13-14) One considers fire as Your face, the earth as Your feet, the sun as Your eye, the sky as Your navel, and the directions as Your sense of hearing. Heaven is Your head, the ruling demigods are Your arms, the ocean is Your abdomen and the wind is Your vital air and physical strength. The trees and the plants are the hairs on Your body, the clouds are the hair on Your head and the mountains are the bones and nails of Your Supreme Being. Day and night are the blinking of Your eye, the founding father is Your genitals and the rain is regarded as Your semen [see e.g. also 2.6: 1-11]. (15) Just like the aquatics that move about in the water or the small insects in an udumbara fig, in You all the worlds found their origin, including their rulers and the many souls that crowd them, in You, their Inexhaustible One Personality comprising all mind and senses.

(16) For the sake of Your pastimes You in this world manifest various forms, with which the people, to be purified from their unhappiness, full of joy sing Your glories. (17-18) My respects for You, the Original Cause who in the form of Matsya [the fish, see 8.24] moved about in the ocean of dissolution and for Hayagrīva [the Lord with the horsehead, see 5.18: 6]. My obeisances unto You, the slayer of Madhu and Kaithaba, unto the huge master tortoise [Kūrma, see 8.7 & 8] who held the mountain Mandara, and all glory to You in the form of the boar [Varāha, see 3.13] whose pleasure it was to lift the earth out of the ocean. (19) My obeisances to You, the amazing lion [Nrisimha, see 7.8 & 9] who removes the fear of every righteous soul, and to You who as the dwarf [Vāmana, see 8.18-21] covered the three worlds in one step. (20) All glories to You, the Lord of the descendants of Bhrigu [Paras'urāma, see 9.15 & 16] who cut down the forest of conceited nobles, and my obeisances to You, the best one of the Raghu dynasty [Lord Rāma, see 9.10 & 11] who put an end to Rāvana. (21) My obeisances to You, oh Lord of the Sātvatas, oh You who are Lord Vāsudeva [of His consciousness], Lord Sankarshana [of His ego], Lord Pradyumna [of His intelligence] and Lord Aniruddha [of His mind, see further 4.24: 35 & 36]. (22) My obeisances to Lord Buddha [He as the awakened One], the Pure One, the bewilderer of the demoniac descendants of Diti and Dānu. My respects for You in the form of Lord Kalki [the Lord descending 'for the wicked ones'], the annihilator of the meat-eaters [the mlecchas] who pose as kings [see also 2.7].

 (23) Oh Supreme Lord, the individual souls in this world are bewildered by Your deluding material energy [māyā], and are, because of the false conceptions of 'I' and 'mine' [asmitā], driven to wander along the paths of fruitive activities [karma]. (24) As for my own body, children, home, wife, wealth, followers and so on, I too am deluded in foolishly thinking that these would be true, oh Mighty One, while they are more like dream images [that come and go]. (25) Thus groping in the dark with a mentality of wishing to enjoy a world of opposites, I, in not being of the true self or what is eternal while taking misery for the contrary [of happiness], fail to know You who are my dearmost self and soul. (26) Like a fool overlooking water that is covered by plants, or like someone running after a mirage, I have turned away from You. (27) With a pitiable intelligence because of material desires and actions, I could not find the strength to check my disturbed mind which, by the so very powerful willful senses, was diverted from one thing to another [see B.G. 13: 1-4 & 5.11: 10]

(28) In this condition, I now approach Your feet that for any impure person, I think, are impossible to attain without Your mercy. Only by serving the truthful [of Your devotees, nature and culture, sat] a person can develop Your [Krishna] consciousness and put an end to the cycle of rebirth in this material world, oh Lord with the lotus navel. (29) I offer my obeisances to You, the Embodiment of Wisdom and the Source of All Forms of Knowledge, You, the Absolute Truth of unlimited potencies who rules over the forces in control of the [conditioned] person. (30) My reverence is there for You, the son of Vasudeva, in whom all living beings reside. You I prove my respect, oh Lord of the Senses, please protect me in my surrender, oh Master.'


Chapter 41: The Lords' Arrival in Mathurā

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'While he [Akrūra] was praying, Krishna, the Supreme Lord, having shown His personal form in the water, withdrew Himself the way an actor winds up his performance. (2) When he saw that the image had disappeared, he emerged from the water, quickly finished his different ritual duties and surprised went to the chariot. (3) Hrishīkes'a asked him: 'Have you seen something miraculous on the earth, in the heavens or in the water? We gather you did!'

(4) S'rī Akrūra said: 'Whatever wonderful things there may be out here on earth, in the sky or in the water, are all situated in You who comprise everything; what would I, seeing You, have not seen? (5) Beholding You, the One Person in whom all wonders of the earth, the sky and the waters are found, oh Absolute of the Truth, what else that I see in this world would amaze me?'

(6) With those words the son of Gāndinī [Akrūra] drove the chariot forward to take Rāma and Krishna to Mathurā, [where they arrived] at the end of the day. (7) The people of the villages who here and there on the road approached Them, were pleased to see the sons of Vasudeva, oh King, and could not take their eyes off Them. (8) In the meantime, Nanda, the gopas and the rest of the inhabitants of Vraja had arrived there and stayed in a park outside the city to wait for Them. (9) Catching up with them the Supreme Lord, the Master of the Universe, with a smile said to humble Akrūra while taking his hand into His own: (10) 'You go ahead of Us to the city with the chariot and go home. We will rest here and then see the city.'

(11) S'rī Akrūra said: 'How can I enter Mathurā without the two of You, oh Master? Do not let me down, oh Lord, oh Caretaker of the Devotees, I am Your devotee! (12) Please, oh supreme well-wisher, come together with Your elder brother, the gopas and Your friends to our house, so that my mansion is graced with its Master, oh Lord of the Beyond. (13) Please, bless with the dust of Your feet this home of us householders attached to rituals, and may by that purification my forefathers, the sacrificial fires and the demigods be satisfied. (14) The great king Bali, by bathing Your two feet, became glorious [see 8.19] and achieved unequaled power, as also the destination reserved for unalloyed devotees. (15) The purified water washing from Your feet that Lord S'iva received on his head [9.9], has sanctified the three worlds, so that the sons of king Sagara [9.8] attained heaven [9.9]. (16) Oh God of the Gods, oh Master of the Universe about whom one piously hears and chants, oh Best of the Yadus, oh Lord Praised in the Verses, oh Lord Nārāyana, let there be the obeisance unto You.'

(17) The Supreme Lord said: 'I will come to your house accompanied by My elder brother. After killing My enemy in the midst of the Yadus [Kamsa], I will grant My well-wishers the satisfaction.'

(18) S'rī S'uka said: 'After thus being addressed by the Supreme Lord, Akrūra somewhat disheartened entered the city. He informed Kamsa on his efforts and thereupon went home. (19) Later in the afternoon Krishna, together with Sankarshana [Rāma] and the gopas, entered Mathurā to take a look around. (20-23) There He saw the high gates and doorways of crystal, front doors and immense archways of gold, storehouses of copper and brass and inviolable moats, [everywhere] beautified by public gardens and attractive parks. The intersections decorated with gold, the mansions with their pleasure gardens, the assembly halls of the guilds and the houses with their columned balconies, as also the ornate paneled rafters, were bedecked with vaidūrya gems, diamonds, quartz, crystals, sapphires, coral, pearls and emeralds. Sounds vibrated of the pet doves and peacocks that sat in the openings of the lattice windows and on the gem-studded floors. The avenues, streets and courtyards were sprinkled with water and [for a welcome] were strewn with garlands, new sprouts, parched grains and rice. The doorways of the houses were nicely decorated with pots filled with yogurt smeared with sandalwood paste, ribbons and flower petals, rows of lamps, leaves, bunches of flowers, trunks of banana trees and betel nut trees and flags. (24) As the sons of Vasudeva entered there surrounded by Their friends, oh King, the women of the city, eager for a look, all hurried to stand along the main road and climb on top of the houses. (25) Some had put on their clothes backwards and forgotten one of their pair of ornaments, putting on only one earring or one set of ankle bells. Other ladies made up one eye but not the other one. (26) Some in their excitement had abandoned the meals they were taking or did not finish their massage. They left their bathing or, hearing the commotion, got up not finishing their nap. Others as mothers put aside the infant they were feeding milk. (27) Striding like a bull elephant in rut, He boldly stole their minds with the glances of His lotus eyes and the game of His smiles. With His body, that source of pleasure to the Goddess of Fortune, He afforded their eyes a festival. (28) Seeing Him whom they repeatedly had heard about, their hearts melted. Receiving the honor of being sprinkled by the nectar of His glances and broad smiles, they, with goose pimples, through their eyes innerly embraced their idol, this embodiment of ecstasy, and gave up their endless distress [of missing Him], oh subduer of the enemies. (29) With faces out of love blooming like lotuses the women, having climbed on the rooftops of their mansions, showered Balarāma and Kes'ava with flowers. (30) With yoghurt, barleycorns and pots filled with water, fragrant substances and other items of worship, the brahmins honored the Two joyfully at every step. (31) The women of the city said: 'Oh what great austerity the gopīs must have performed to may constantly witness these Two, who for human society are the greatest source of pleasure.'

(32) Krishna, the elder brother of Gada [see 9.24: 46], saw a certain washerman, a dyer of clothes, coming His way and asked him for first class, clean garments. (33) 'Please, oh best man, give the two of Us some suitable clothes. When you donate them to Us, who deserve it, that will bring you the highest benefit, that suffers no doubt!'

(34) Requested by the Supreme Lord who is complete and perfect in every way, he, most falsely proud as a servant of the king, indignantly said full of anger: (35) 'Is it no impudence of You who roam the mountains and the forests, to put on garments like these belonging to the king? (36) Get lost You fools, do not beg like this if You want to live! I swear, people as bold as You, are arrested, looted and killed by the king's men!'

(37) Thus humiliating Them, he raised the anger of the son of Devakī who, with the side of one hand, hit his head from his body. (38) When his assistants fled in all directions, they left behind bundles of clothes. Acyuta took the garments. (39) Krishna and Balarāma dressed Themselves with a set of clothes to Their liking, left several of them behind on the ground and gave the rest to the gopas. (40) Thereupon a weaver came who, full of love for Them, befittingly ornamented Their clothes with pieces of cloth of different colors. (41) Krishna and Rāma with each His own specific high quality outfit and nice decorations, looked as resplendent as a pair of young elephants, one light and one dark, adorned for a festival. (42) The Supreme Lord being pleased with the weaver, granted him sārūpya: that he in this world would be liberated with a similar form and the same supreme opulence, physical strength, influence, memory and sense control [the grace of His characteristics, see also mukti].

(43) They both next went to the house of Sudāmā ['well-giving'], the garland-maker. Seeing Them he stood up and bowed down putting his head to the ground. (44) He brought seats for Them, water to wash Their feet and hands, presents and such, and honored Them and Their companions with garlands, betel nut and sandalwood paste. (45) He said: 'Our birth has been worthwhile and the family has been purified, oh Master. Together with me, my forefathers, the gods and the seers are satisfied that You came here.  (46) You two, who constitute the Ultimate Cause of the Universe, have with Your plenary portions descended to this world for its protection and happiness. (47) Even though You reciprocate with those who are of worship, with You there is no bias in Your vision. You as the Soul of the Universe, as well-wishing friends are equal to all living beings. (48) You Two should order me, Your servant, what I should do for You. For this is for anyone the greatest blessing: to be appointed by You.'

(49) S'uka said: 'Thus understanding what to do oh best of kings, Sudāmā, steeped in love, presented garlands made of fresh and fragrant flowers. (50) Beautifully adorned with them the two benefactors Krishna and Rāma, who together with Their companions were most satisfied, granted the surrendered soul who bowed down, every benediction that he wished for. (51) He chose for an unshakable devotion unto Him alone, the Supreme soul of the Complete Whole, for friendship with all living beings and for the blessing of transcendence. (52) Thus blessing him with prosperity, a thriving family, strength, a long life, renown and beauty, He left together with His elder brother.'


Chapter 42: The Breaking of the Sacrificial Bow

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'Walking the king's road, Krishna saw a woman carrying a tray with ointments for the body. She was hunchbacked [*], was  young and had an attractive face. The Bestower of the Essence with a smile asked where she was going. (2) 'Who are you with your nice thighs? Ah dear woman, look at those ointments! Please tell Us honestly for whom this all is meant. Offer, if you want, the two of Us that ointment for the body, then there will soon be the supreme benefit for you.'

(3) The maidservant said: 'Oh handsome One, I am a servant of Kamsa known as Trivakrā ['three-bend'] respected indeed for my work with ointments. Prepared by me they are very dear to the chief of the Bhojas. But okay, who else but the two of You would deserve them?'

(4) With her mind overwhelmed by the beauty, charm and sweetness of Their talks, smiles and glances, she gave Them plenty of ointment. (5) Adorning Their bodies with the colors that contrasted with Their complexions, the ointments proved to be of the highest quality. Thus being anointed They appeared beautifully. (6) To deliver proof of the benefit of meeting Him, the satisfied Supreme Lord decided to straighten the crooked back of Trivakrā who had such an attractive face. (7) With both His feet pressing down on her toes, Acyuta with both His hands took hold of her chin and raised her up with two fingers pointing upwards. (8) Thereupon all of a sudden straight by Mukunda's touch, she had become a most perfect woman with evenly proportioned limbs, large hips and breasts. (9) Thus endowed with beauty, quality and good feelings, she was roused to the notion of sleeping with Him. With a smile she addressed Kes'ava while pulling at the end of His upper garment. (10) 'Come, oh hero, let us go to my house. I cannot bear to leave You here; please, oh Best of All Men, have mercy with me whose head is reeling.'

(11) With this request of the woman Krishna glanced at Balarāma who watched what happened and then at the gopas. He laughed and said to her: (12) 'Oh you with your beautiful eyebrows, I will visit your home where men may find relief of their anxieties, when I have accomplished what I came for. That will do good to us, travelers far from home. For you are the best one might wish for.'

(13) After leaving her behind with these sweet words, He, walking down the road with His brother, was by the merchants honored with various offerings of betel nut, garlands and fragrant substances. (14) With Him before their eyes the women could not think straight any longer. Agitated by Cupid, they stood nailed to the ground with their clothes, bangles and hair in disarray. (15) After asking the residents for the place of the sacrificial bow, Acyuta entered there. It was a bow as magnificent as a rainbow, the bow of Indra. (16) The bow was guarded by many men and worshiped with the greatest wealth. Krishna forced His way past the guards who blocked Him and picked it up. (17) Before the eyes of the guards He lifted it easily with His left hand and pulled the string in a second. Lord Urukrama ['giant-step'] broke it in two like an elephant eager for a piece of sugar cane. (18) The sound of the breaking bow penetrated all directions of the sky and the earth, and made Kamsa, who heard it, tremble with fear. (19) Trying to get hold of Him, He and His comrades were surrounded by the guards who enraged had taken up their weapons and shouted: 'Grab Him, kill Him!' (20) Seeing their evil intentions, Balarāma and Kes'ava each took up a piece of the bow and vehemently struck them down.

(21) After They had also slain an armed force that was sent by Kamsa, the Two walked out of the gate of the arena, happy to observe the exciting riches of the city. (22) The citizens who had witnessed Their amazing heroic act, deemed Them, because of their strength, boldness and beauty, the finest among the gods. (23) Freely wandering around, the sun began to set and Krishna and Rāma, accompanied by the gopas, returned to the place outside the city where they had left their wagons. (24) The [predictions of] benedictions in Mathurā, expressed by the gopīs who were tormented by feelings of separation when Mukunda left, [10.39: 23-25], all came true, for now these people had the full vision of the body of this paragon of male beauty, of Him, the shelter so much desired by the Goddess of Fortune that she forgot about others worshiping her. (25) After the both of Them had washed Their feet and eaten boiled rice with milk, They, aware of Kamsa's scheme, spent the night there quite comfortably(26-27) But Kamsa stayed awake a long time, having heard of the game Govinda and Rāma had played in breaking the bow and killing his small army of guards. In his fear he saw with his bad mind, in his sleep as also being awake, many bad omens and messengers of death. (28-31) In the mirror he could not see the reflection of his own head and for no reason he saw a double image of the heavenly bodies. In his shadow he saw a hole and he could not hear the sound of his breath. He saw a golden hue over the trees and could not spot his own footprints. In his sleep he was embraced by ghosts, he rode a donkey and swallowed poison. He saw someone going about naked being smeared with oil and wearing a garland of nalada flowers [indian spikenards, a Valerian type]. In his sleep as also awake seeing these and similar omens, he was mortally afraid and could not sleep anymore.

(32) When the night had passed, oh descendant of Kuru and the sun rose above the water, Kamsa held the great wrestling festival he organized(33) The king's men ceremoniously vibrated musical instruments and drums in the arena, having decorated the galleries with garlands, flags, ribbons and arches. (34) The citizens and the people from elsewhere, headed by the state officials and the brahmins, were comfortably seated upon them, while the royalty received special seats. (35) Kamsa surrounded by his ministers sat on the royal dais, but positioned there in the midst of his governors, his heart trembled. (36) As the musical instruments played in rhythms appropriate for the wrestling, the richly ornamented wrestlers proudly entered together with their instructors and sat down. (37) Canura, Mushthika, Kūtha, S'ala and Tos'ala, enthused by the pleasing music, took their place on the wrestling mat. (38) The gopa Nanda and the cowherds he led, were called forward by the king of Bhoja [Kamsa] to present their offerings and next sat down in one of the galleries.'

*: The pupils of Prabhupāda elucidate: 'According to S'rīla Vis'vanātha Cakravartī Thhākura, the young hunchbacked girl was actually a partial expansion of the Lord's wife Satyabhāmā. Satyabhāmā is the Lord's internal energy known as Bhū-s'akti [see 10.39: 53-55], and this expansion of hers, known as Prithivī, represents the earth, which was bent down by the great burden of countless wicked rulers. Lord Krishna descended to remove these wicked rulers, and thus His pastime of straightening the hunchback Trivakrā, as explained in these verses, represents His rectifying the burdened condition of the earth.'


Chapter 43: Krishna Kills the Elephant Kuvalayāpīda

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'After Krishna and Rāma had washed Themselves, oh chastiser of the enemies, They heard the vibrations of kettledrums for the wrestling match and went hither to take a look. (2) When Krishna reached the gate of the arena He saw the elephant Kuvalayāpīda standing there, directed by his keeper. (3) Tightening His clothes and tying together His curly locks, He spoke to the elephant keeper with words as grave as the rumbling clouds: (4) 'Elephant keeper, oh elephant keeper, let Us pass, move aside right now, or else I will send you, together with your elephant, today to the abode of Yama [the lord of death].'

(5) Thus being threatened the elephant keeper got angry and goaded the furious elephant, that was like Yama, time and death, in the direction of Krishna. (6) The master elephant ran toward Krishna and violently seized Him with his trunk, but Krishna, dealing him a blow, escaped from the grip and disappeared between his legs. (7) Angry about not seeing Him anymore, he spotted Him by his sense of smell and grabbed Him with the end of his long nose, but Krishna used force and freed Himself once more. (8) Krishna seized him by the tail and dragged him, that mountain of power, for twenty-five bow-lengths with the ease with which Garuda plays with a snake. (9) Acyuta, moving him to the left and the right, was also moved about by him, just like a calf does with a young boy [at its tail. See also 10.8: 24]. (10) The moment they came to stand face to face, He slapped the elephant with His hand and then quickly moved away again. Thus He hit him at every step and then made him trip. (11) Running away He pretended to fall to the ground, but then He suddenly got up so that the elephant angrily came to strike the earth with his tusks. (12) With his prowess foiled that lord of the elephants was driven into a frenzy, and urged on by his keepers, he furiously attacked  Krishna again. (13) The Supreme Lord, the killer of Madhu, confronting him in his attack, with His hand seized him by his trunk and made him fall to the ground. (14) With the ease of a lion jumping on the fallen giant, the Lord yanked out a tusk and killed the elephant as also his keepers with it

(15) Leaving aside the dead elephant He, being sprinkled with drops of the elephant's blood and sweat, took the tusk on His shoulder and entered [the arena] with His lotus face shining with the fine drops that had appeared by His own perspiring. (16) Oh King, Baladeva and Janārdana, surrounded by several cowherd boys, thus appeared before the audience with the elephant's tusks as their chosen weapons. (17) For the wrestlers He was lightning, for the men He was the best, and for the women He was Cupid incarnate. For the cowherds He was a relative, for the impious rulers He was a chastiser, and for His parents He was a child. For the king of Bhoja He was death, for the unintelligent souls He was merely a material form, for the yogis He was the Supreme Reality, and for the Vrishnis He was the most worshipable deity. In these ways being regarded differently, He entered the arena together with His brother [see * and rasa]. (18) When Kamsa saw that Kuvalayāpīda had been killed and that the two of Them were invincible, his mind was overtaken by a very great anxiety, oh ruler of man. (19) The two mighty-armed Lords, the way They were dressed in each His own garments, with ornaments and garlands, looked in Their excellent costumes like two actors and radiated, being present in the arena, with an effulgence that overwhelmed the minds of all onlookers. (20) The people sitting in the galleries, the citizens and the people from outside, oh King, seeing the two Supreme Personalities, in sheer delight opened their eyes and mouths wide, and drank in the vision of Their faces, never getting enough of Them. (21-22) As if they were drinking Them through their eyes, licking Them up with their tongues, smelling Them through their nostrils and embracing Them with their arms, they spoke with each other commemorating the beauty, qualities, charm and bravery they had seen and heard from Them: (23) 'These two who descended to this world in the home of Vasudeva, are no doubt the direct expansions of Hari, the Supreme Personality. (24) This one here was born from Devakī and brought to Gokula, where He, growing up in the house of Nanda, lived in secret all the time. (25) He put an end to Pūtanā, the whirlwind-demon and the two Arjuna trees, and also ended the lives of others like S'ankhacūda, Kes'ī and Dhenuka. (26-27) He saved the cows and their tenders from the forest fire, He subdued the serpent Kāliya and sobered up Indra by delivering all the residents of Gokula from rain, wind and hail, when He for seven days with one hand held up the best of all mountains. (28) The gopīs seeing His always cheerful, smiling face and glance, that are free from fatigue, could transcend all sorts of distress and live happily. (29) They say that, because of Him, this Yadu dynasty will become very famous and, being protected in every way, will achieve all riches, power and glory. (30) And this brother of His, the lotus-eyed Rāma, He is of all opulence and killed Pralamba, [and we think... **] Vatsāsura, Bakāsura and others.'

(31) With the people thus speaking and the musical instruments resounding, Cānūra addressed Krishna and Balarāma, using these words: (32) 'Oh son of Nanda, oh Rāma, You two heroes are well respected and skillful at wrestling; the King heard about it, wanted to see that and called for You. (33) When citizens in mind, deeds and words perform to the pleasure of the King, they will acquire good fortune, but not acting so they achieve the opposite. (34) The gopas evidently are always very happy to tend their calves and play and romp, as they wander about deep in the forests. (35) Let us together with the two of You therefore act to the pleasure of the King. Everybody will be pleased with us, for the King embodies the interest of all living beings.'

(36) When Krishna heard this He, welcoming the fight and [thus] considering it desirable, spoke words befitting the time and place [see also 4.8: 54]:  (37) 'Even though we wander in the forest, we are also subjects of the Bhoja King. Therefore we must always do whatever pleases him, for that will bring us the supreme benefit. (38) We young boys should, befittingly, contest with those equal in strength. The wrestling match should take place in such a manner that the assembled audience in this arena will not fall from its belief.'

(39) Cānūra said: 'You who sported to kill the elephant that had the strength of a thousand elephants, are not a boy or a youngster, and neither is Balarāma, who is the strongest of the strong! (40) Therefore the two of You should fight with those who are strong. There surely is no injustice in that, it is Your prowess against mine, oh descendent of Vrishni, and let Balarāma take it up with Mushthika.'

*: Thus one speaks of ten rasas, attitudes or moods toward Krishna: fury [perceived by the wrestlers], wonder [by the men], conjugal attraction [the women], laughter [the cowherds], chivalry [the kings], mercy [His parents], terror [Kamsa], repulsion [the unintelligent], peaceful neutrality [the yogis] and loving devotion [the Vrishnis].

**: Vatsāsura and Bakāsura were factually killed by Krishna.

Chapter 44: The Wrestling Match and the Killing of Kamsa

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'The Supreme Lord Madhusūdana, thus firmly determined, positioned Himself opposite to Cānūra, and so did the son of Rohinī with Mushthika. (2) They seized each other's hands, blocked each other's legs with their legs, and then pulled and pushed with force to attain the victory. (3) With elbows against elbows, knees against knees, heads against heads and chests against chests, they struck each other. (4) Wheeling, shoving, crushing and throwing down, releasing, running in front and running behind, they offered each other resistance. (5) Desiring the victory they hurt each other, lifted each other up and carried each other, pushed each other away and held each other fast.

(6) Compassionate about that fight between the weak and the strong, the women assembled in groups, oh King, and said: (7) 'Alas, what an enormous lack of responsibility on the part of the people present in the king's assembly. Together with the king they wish to see a fight between the strong and the weak! (8) On one side we see the appearances of these two mountains of master wrestlers with limbs as strong as lightning, while on the other side there are these two youths with tender limbs who have not reached maturity yet! (9) This association violates the rules of dharma. There where unrighteousness rises, one should not remain a moment longer! (10) A wise person should not attend an assembly where the members are bent on improprieties. When a human being in silent consent ignorantly subscribes to wrong assumptions, he incurs sin. (11) Just see how wet Krishna's lotus like face is from the effort of dancing around his opponent. He looks like the whorl of a lotus flower with water droplets. (12) Look how Balarāma's face is even more beautiful the way He, laughing and with eyes red like copper, in His anger is focussing on Mushthika. (13) How meritorious indeed are the tracts of Vraja where the Original Personality in this disguise of human traits, with a wonderful variety of forest flower garlands, together with Balarāma vibrates His flute, moves about in different pastimes and herds the cows, while His feet are worshiped by the lord on the mountain [ S'iva] and the goddess of fortune. (14) What austerities would the gopīs have performed to be allowed to drink in through their eyes the form of such an essence of unequaled, unsurpassed loveliness perfect in itself, ever new and difficult to attain as the only abode of fame, beauty and opulence? (15) The fortunate ladies of Vraja, with their milking, threshing, churning, smearing [with dung], swinging on swings, with their crying babies, their sprinkling, cleaning and so on, sing about Him, with their minds attached and choked up with tears, and thus find their way thanks to their consciousness of Urukrama. (16) The women who hear Him playing the flute, while He together with the cows early in the morning leaves and late in the evening returns to Vraja, in utter piety hurry outside to meet Him on the road with His smiling, merciful face and glances.'

(17) While they were speaking thus, the Supreme Lord, the Controller of Mystic Power, decided to kill His enemy, oh hero of the Bhāratas. (18) When their parents [in prison] heard about the women's words of concern about their sons they, in their love, burned full of remorse being overwhelmed with sorrow, for they did not know how strong their sons were. (19) As Acyuta and His opponent fought each other with all the different wrestling techniques, Balarāma and Mushthika did the same. (20) Due to the crushing, lightning hard blows dealt by the hands and feet of the Supreme Lord, Cānūra felt more and more pained and exhausted, and was physically completely broken. (21) Clenching both his hands into fists he with the speed of a hawk fell upon the Supreme Lord Vāsudeva and enraged struck Him on His chest. (22-23) No more being moved by his blows than an elephant hit with a flower garland, the Lord seized Cānūra by his arms, whirled him several times around and threw him with great force to the ground. Crashing like a massive festival column he, with his clothes, hair and garland all scattered, lost his life. (24-25) Likewise also Mushthika, after striking the powerful Lord Balabhadra with his fist, received a violent blow from His palm so that he trembling, giving up blood from his mouth, right where he stood, fell lifeless to the ground like a tree struck down by the wind. (26) Then Kūtha stepped forward. Nonchalantly he with great ease was killed by the fist of Rāma, the best of all fighters, oh King. (27) Thereupon S'ala was kicked in the head by Krishna and Tos'ala was torn to pieces by Him, so that they both fell. (28) After Cānūra, Mushthika, Kūtha, S'ala and Tos'ala had been killed, the remaining wrestlers all fled away hoping to save their lives. (29) Krishna and Rāma joined Their young cowherd friends, sported with them, played musical instruments and danced about, tinkling with Their ankle bells. (30) Except for Kamsa all the people rejoiced in the accomplishment of Rāma and Krishna, while the leading brahmins and sādhus exclaimed: 'Excellent, excellent!'

(31) Seeing the best of his wrestlers killed or fled away, the Bhoja king silenced his instrumental music and spoke the words: (32) 'Expel the two sons of Vasudeva who behaved so badly from the city, seize the gopas' wealth and tie up that fool Nanda! (33) And ignorant Vasudeva, that darn dullard, and my father Ugrasena and his followers, should, for their siding with the enemy, be killed right away.'

(34) While Kamsa thus most angrily was raving, the Imperishable Lord with ease jumped up and quickly climbed on the high royal dais. (35) Seeing Him coming, his own death, Kamsa, smart as he was, immediately stood up from his seat and took up his sword and shield. (36) Kamsa, sword in hand moved about from the left to the right as quick as a hawk in the sky, but he was seized by the force of the Lord's irresistible and fearsome strength, like a snake by the son of Tārkshya [Garuda]. (37) He grabbed him by the hair and knocked the crown off his head. The Lord with the Lotus Navel then hurled him from the high platform down into the wrestling arena, whereupon He, the Independent Support of the Entire Universe, threw Himself on top of him [to kill him]. (38) Like a lion with an elephant, He dragged him dead along the ground before the eyes of all the people, from whom then loudly arose an 'Oh, oooh!' sound, oh King of the humans. (39) Since he, constantly being filled with anxiety, had seen Him, the Controller with the cakra in His hand, before his mind's eye whenever he drank or ate, walked, slept or breathed, he [being liberated] thus obtained that very same so most difficult to acquire form [see also sārūpya 10.41: 42 and 10.29: 13]. (40) His eight younger brothers Kanka, Nyagrodhaka and the rest, then infuriated attacked to avenge their brother. (41) Thus rushing forward ready to strike, they were beaten down by Balarāma who wielded His club like the lion king ruling the animals. (42) Kettledrums resounded in the sky and Brahmā, S'iva, the other gods and expansions of the Lord, being pleased, chanted praises and showered flowers upon Him, while their wives were dancing.
(43) The wives [of Kamsa and his brothers], oh Emperor, grieving over the death of their well-wishers, approached the spot with tears in their eyes and beating their heads. (44) Embracing their husbands lying on the hero's bed, the women lamented loudly, shedding a river of tears: (45) "Alas, oh master, my dearest, oh defender of the holy duty, oh kindness, oh you so full of compassion for the ones unprotected! The very moment that you found your death we, your household and offspring, have found our death. (46) This city bereft of you, its master, does, just like us, oh most heroic of men, not appear as beautiful now that its festivity and bliss has all ended. (47) The terrible violence you have committed against innocent living beings, has brought you in this condition, oh dearest. How can he who causes harm to other living beings end well? (48) He who is neglectful of Him, the One who for certain is the origin, maintenance and disappearance of all living beings in this world, can never prosper in happiness.'

(49) S'rī S'uka said: 'The Supreme Lord, the Maintainer of All the Worlds, consoled the wives of the king [and his brothers], and arranged as prescribed the funeral rites for the deceased. (50) Krishna and Rāma thereupon freed Their father and mother from their fetters and proved Their respect for them by touching their feet with Their heads. (51) Devakī and Vasudeva offered, in recognition of [Them as being] the Controllers of the Universe, their obeisances with joined palms and - apprehensively - did not embrace their sons.'


Chapter 45: Krishna Rescues His Teacher's Son

(1) S'rī S'uka said: 'Knowing that His parents had arrived at the notion that He would be the Supreme Personality, He said to Himself: 'This should not be so'. And thus He expanded His personal illusory potency [His yogamāyā] that bewilders the people. (2) Approaching them together with His elder brother, He, the Greatest Devotee of All [the Sātvatas], with humility bowed down to His parents in order to satisfy them and respectfully said: 'Dear father and mother! (3) Oh father, because of Us you were always afraid and could never enjoy anything of the toddler age, the boyhood and youth of your two sons [*]. (4) As ordained by fate We, being deprived of living in your presence, could not experience the cherished happiness of children living at home with their parents. (5) A mortal man is never, not even for a lifespan of a hundred years, capable of repaying the debt to his parents. He took his birth from them and by them he is maintained. They are the source of the body suitable for all goals of life [all purushārthas, compare 10.32: 22]. (6) A son who, even though capable, with his resources and wealth does not provide for their sustenance, will after his death be forced to eat his own flesh [see also 5.26]. (7) When one is capable of, but not maintains one's mother and father, the elderly, one's chaste wife, one's very young child, one's spiritual master, a [depending] brahmin or anyone seeking one's protection, one is a person who is dead even though he breathes [see B.G. 11: 33]. (8) Because of Kamsa who always disturbed Our minds, We could not honor you and have spent Our days [of youth] without being of any consequence to you. (9) Please, oh father and mother, forgive Us the fact that We, controlled by others, from Our part could not serve you and that the hardhearted one [Kamsa] thus could cause such great pain.'

(10) S'rī S'uka said: 'Thus bewildered by the words of Him, the Lord and Soul of the Universe who through His māyā appeared as a human being, they raised Them upon their laps to experience the joy of closing Them in their arms. (11) Bound by the rope of affection crying a river they, with their throats full of tears being overwhelmed, could not say a word, oh King. (12) The Supreme Lord, the son of Devakī, who thus comforted His parents, then made His maternal grandfather Ugrasena, King over the Yadus. (13) He told him: 'Please, oh great King, with Us as your subjects, take command, for because of the curse of Yayāti [see 9.18: 42] one, being born as a Yadu, should not sit on the throne. (14) When I am there as a servant to attend to you, the demigods and such will bow down before you to offer you tribute. Then what may be expected from the other rulers of men?'

(15-16) All His close relatives and other relations, the Yadus, Vrishnis, Andhakas, Madhus, Dās'ārhas, Kukuras and other clans, who, disturbed in their fear of Kamsa, had fled in all directions, were honored and consoled, for living in foreign regions had made them weary. He, the Maker of the Universe, brought them back to their homes and satisfied them with valuable gifts. (17-18) Protected by the arms of Krishna and Sankarshana they in their homes enjoyed the complete fulfillment of their desires because, now that they day after day saw the loving, always cheerful, beautiful lotus face and merciful, smiling glances of Mukunda, with Krishna and Balarāma the fever [of a material existence] had ended. (19) Even the elderly were youthful and full of strength and vitality, now that they, there [in Mathurā], time and again through their eyes could imbibe the nectar of Mukunda's lotus face. (20) Thereupon the Supreme Lord, the son of Devakī, and Sankarshana approached Nanda, oh great King. They, embracing him, said: (21) 'Oh father, with the great affection and fondling of you both, you have cherished Us greatly. The love the parents have for their children is truly greater than the love they have for each other. (22) They are father and mother who nourish, like they were their own sons, the children who were abandoned by relatives unable to maintain and protect them. (23) Please return all together to Vraja, dear father, We will come to see you, relatives frustrated in your love, after We have made Our friends [out here] happy.' (24) The Supreme Lord, the Infallible One, thus appeasing Nanda and the people from Vraja, thereupon respectfully honored them with clothing, jewelry and pots and such. 

(25) Thus being addressed, Nanda engulfed by affection, embraced Them with tears filling his eyes, and went together with the gopas to Vraja. (26) The son of S'ūrasena [Vasudeva], oh King, then arranged for a priest and brahmins to properly perform the second-birth initiation of his sons. (27) For their remuneration he donated in worship fully decorated cows with golden chains and ornaments, complete with calves and linen wreaths. (28) Magnanimously he gave them in charity the cows that were stolen away by Kamsa, the same cows he previously had donated within his mind the very day Krishna and Rāma were born [see 3.10: 11-12]. (29) After having been initiated into the twice-born status, They, of proper vows, took the vow of celibacy [to be a student] from Garga, the preceptor of the Yadus [see also gāyatrī and brahmacārya]. (30-31) The Lords of the Universe who are the source of any form of knowledge, concealed in Their human activities the perfection of Their omniscience not founded on any knowledge from the outside. They [nevertheless] then desired to reside in the school of the guru and approached Sāndīpani, a native of Kāsī [Benares], who dwelt in the city of Avantī [Ujjain]. (32) Thus obtaining [the company of] these self-controlled souls, he was by Them respected as if he was the Lord Himself. Doing this They in Their devotion formed an irreproachable example of service to the teacher. (33) That best of the twice-born souls as Their guru, taught Them, contented as he was with Their pure love and submissive acts, all the Vedas with their corollary literatures and philosophical treatises [Upanishads], [**(34) the Dhanur-veda [military science, archery] along with all its secrets [the mantras], the dharma [the codes of human conduct, the laws] and the nyāya [the methods of logic] as also the ānvīkshikīm [the knowledge of philosophical debate or tarka] and the six aspects of the rāja-nītim [political science, see ***]. (35-36) As the best of all first class persons and as the promulgators of all knowledge They, oh ruler of man, fixed in concentration, fully assimilated with simply having heard it only once, the complete of the sixty-four arts in as many days and nights [*4], and satisfied Their preceptor, oh King, by offering him compensation [gurudakshinā]. (37) Oh King, in consideration of the amazing greatness of Their superhuman intelligence, the brahmin, after consulting with his wife, arrived at the wish to see his child again that had perished in the ocean at Prabhāsa [see also 1.15: 49, 3.1: 20, 3.3: 25]. (38) 'So be it' the two great warlords of unlimited prowess said and next mounted a chariot to head for Prabhāsa. Having arrived there, they walked up to the shore to sit there for a moment. The [god of the] ocean recognized Them and offered Them tribute [compare 9.3: 13]. (39) The Supreme Lord said to him: 'Present Us at once the son of Our guru, a young boy you have seized here with a mighty wave.'

(40) The person of the ocean said: 'It was not I who took him away, oh Lord, it was a powerful Daitya named Pańcajana, oh Krishna, a demon who moves through the water in the form of a conch. (41) He, who lives here, indeed has kidnapped him.' Hearing that, the Master quickly entered the water and killed him, but He could not find the boy in his belly. (42-44) He took the conch shell, which had grown as a part of the demon, returned to the chariot and went to the beloved city of Yamarāja [the lord of death] known as Samyamanī [*5]. [Arriving there,] Janārdana, together with the Lord who has a plow for His weapon [Balarāma], blew loudly on His conch shell [see also B.G. 1: 15] so that Yamarāja, he who restrains the living beings, could hear the sound. Overflowing with devotion Yamarāja worshiped Them elaborately and humbly bowing down said to Krishna, who dwells in the heart of each: 'What can I do for the two of You, oh Vishnu who, for Your pastime, has appeared in the form of [two] human beings?'
(45) The Supreme Lord said: 'Please bring Me the son of My guru who was brought here because of his karmic bondage, oh great King. It is My command that should be given priority.'

(46) 'So be it', he said, and brought forward the preceptor's son. The Best of the Yadus gave him back to Their guru to whom They then said: 'Please make another wish.'

(47) The honorable guru said: 'My dear Boys, I am completely fulfilled by the remuneration for the guru the two of You have offered. What more could a spiritual master wish from Persons like You? (48) Please go home, oh heroes, may Your fame purify [the entire world] and may the mantras [Your appearance and delight] ever be fresh in this life and in the next [see also 10.13: 2]!'

(49) Thus by Their guru permitted to leave, They reached Their city on Their chariot, that was as fast as the wind and thundered like a cloud. (50) The citizens who had not seen Balarāma and Janārdana for many days, all rejoiced to see Them again, like having regained a lost treasure.'

*: S'rīla Vis'vanātha Cakravartī points out: 'The kaumāra stage lasts until the age of five, pauganda up to age ten and kais'ora to age fifteen. From then on, one is known as yauvana.' According to this statement, the kais'ora period ends at the age of fifteen. Krishna was only eleven years old when He killed Kamsa, according to Uddhava's words: ekādas'a-samās tatra gūdhārcih sa-balo 'vasat. 'Like a covered flame, Lord Krishna remained there incognito with Balarāma for eleven years' (S.B. 3.2: 26). The three years and four months that Lord Krishna stayed in Mahāvana were the equivalent of five years for an ordinary child, and thus in that period He completed His kaumāra stage of childhood. The period from then to the age of six years and eight months, during which He lived in Vrindāvana, constitutes His pauganda stage. And the period from the age of six years and eight months through His tenth year, during which time He lived in Nandīs'vara [Nandagrāma], constitutes His kais'ora stage. Then, at the age of ten years and seven months, on the eleventh lunar day of the dark fortnight of the month of Caitra, He went to Mathurā, and on the fourteenth day thereafter He killed Kamsa. Thus He completed His kais'ora period at age ten, and He eternally remains at that age. In other words, we should understand that from this point on the Lord remains forever a kis'ora.'

**: These are the so-called angas and Upanishads. The six angas are: s'iks'a (phonetics), chanda, (prosody), vyākarana (grammar), jyotisha (astronomy), kalpa (content and rules for the rituals) and nirukta (etymology).

***: The six aspects of political science are: (1) sandhi, making peace; (2) vigraha, war; (3) yāna, marching or expedition; (4) āsana, sitting tight or encampment; (5) dvaidha, dividing one's forces or separating one's allies; and (6) sams'aya, depending on allies or seeking the protection of a more powerful ruler.

*4: The Lords learned: (1) gītam, singing; (2) vādyam, playing on musical instruments; (3) nrityam, dancing; (4) nāthyam, drama; (5) ālekhyam, painting; (6) vis'eshaka-cchedyam, painting the face and body with colored unguents and cosmetics; (7) tandula-kusuma-bali-vikārāh, preparing auspicious designs on the floor with rice and flowers; (8) pushpāstaranam, making a bed of flowers; (9) das'ana-vasanānga-rāgāh, coloring one's teeth, clothes and limbs; (10) mani-bhūmikā-karma, inlaying a floor with jewels; (11) s'ayyā-racanam, covering a bed; (12) udaka-vādyam, ringing waterpots; (13) udaka-ghātah, splashing with water; (14) citra-yogāh, mixing colors; (15) mālya-grathana-vikalpāh, preparing wreaths; (16) s'ekharāpīda-yojanam, setting a helmet on the head; (17) nepathya-yogāh, putting on apparel in a dressing room; (18) karna-patra-bhangāh, decorating the earlobe; (19) sugandha-yuktih, applying aromatics; (20) bhūshana-yojanam, decorating with jewelry; (21) aindrajālam, jugglery; (22) kaucumāra-yogah, the art of disguise; (23) hasta-lāghavam, sleight of hand; (24) citra-s'ākāpūpa-bhakshya- vikāra-kriyah, preparing varieties of salad, bread, cake and other delicious food; (25) pānaka-rasa-rāgāsava-yojanam, preparing palatable drinks and tinging draughts with red color; (26) sūcī-vāya-karma, needlework and weaving; (27) sūtra-krīdā, making puppets dance by manipulating thin threads; (28) vīnā-damarukavādyāni, playing on a lute and a small X-shaped drum; (29) prahelikā, making and solving riddles; (29a) pratimālā, capping verses, or reciting poems verse for verse as a trial of memory or skill; (30) durvacaka-yogāh, uttering statements difficult for others to answer; (31) pustaka-vācanam, reciting books; and (32) nāthikākhyāyikā-dars'anam, enacting short plays and writing anecdotes.(33) kāvya-samasyā-pūranam, solving enigmatic verses; (34) paththikā-vetra-bāna-vikalpāh, making a bow from a strip of cloth and a stick; (35) tarku-karma, spinning with a spindle; (36) takshanam, carpentry; (37) vāstu-vidyā, architecture; (38) raupya-ratna- parīkshā, testing silver and jewels; (39) dhātu-vādah, metallurgy; (40) mani- raga-jńānam, tinging jewels with various colors; (41) ākara-jńānam, mineralogy; (42) vrikshāyur-veda-yogāh, herbal medicine; (43) mesha-kukkutha- lāvaka-yuddha-vidhih, the art of training and engaging rams, cocks and quails in fighting; (44) s'uka-s'ārikā-pralāpanam, knowledge of how to train male and female parrots to speak and to answer the questions of human beings; (45) utsādanam, healing a person with ointments; (46) kes'a-mārjana- kaus'alam, hairdressing; (47) akshara-mushthikā-kathanam, telling what is written in a book without seeing it, and telling what is hidden in another's fist; (48) mlecchita-kutarka-vikalpāh, fabricating barbarous or foreign sophistry; (49) des'a-bhāshā-jńānam, knowledge of provincial dialects; (50) pushpa-s'akathikā-nirmiti-jńānam, knowledge of how to build toy carts with flowers; (51) yantra-mātrikā, composing magic squares, arrangements of numbers adding up to the same total in all directions; (52) dhārana-mātrikā, the use of amulets; (53) samvācyam, conversation; (54) mānasī-kāvya-kriyā, composing verses mentally; (55) kriyā-vikalpāh, designing a literary work or a medical remedy; (56) chalitaka-yogāh, building shrines; (57) abhidhāna-kosha-cchando-jńānam, lexicography and the knowledge of poetic meters; (58) vastra-gopanam, disguising one kind of cloth to look like another; (59) dyūta-vis'esham, knowledge of various forms of gambling; (so) ākarsha-krīda, playing dice; (61) bālaka-krīdanakam, playing with children's toys; (62) vaināyikī vidyā, enforcing discipline by mystic power; (63) vaijayikī vidyā, gaining victory; and (64) vaitālikī vidyā, awakening one's master with music at dawn. [see also Krishna book chapter 45].

*5: Samyama means self-control, restraint, holding together, the integration of concentration [dhāranā], meditation [dhyāna], and absorption [samādhi] in yoga.

Thus the second part of the tenth Canto of the S'rīmad Bhāgavatam ends named: 'Summum Bonum'.


Translation: Anand Aadhar Prabhu,

Production: the Filognostic Association of The Order of Time, with special thanks to Sakhya Devi Dasi for proofreading and correcting the manuscript.

©2009 Anand Aadhar
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